IMPACT OF CHINESE MEDIA IN AFRICA
China is flexing its media muscle in Africa and continues to grow its influence on Africa’s television viewers and strengthening Sino-African perceptions through its CCTV News (DStv 409) channel which is giving constant, and overtly positive coverage to, and of, African stories.
It’s also visible through bigger profile coverage on other TV sources such as South Africa’s eNCA (DStv 403) channel.
Other 24-hour international news channels and international media platforms have remained slow and reluctant to cover Africa – or mostly keep with outdated stereotypical images of starving African children beset with flies, poverty, war and hopelessness.
CCTV News’s African division, CCTV Africa is now pro-actively busy with changing the television news agenda of how Africa’s stories and coverage is framed.
CCTV Africa, with its headquarters based in Nairobi, Kenia, is working hard on a transformative television news experience when it comes to covering the continent and by showing mostly positive profiles and TV news stories which are more balanced and less negative.
A year ago CCTV in partnership with MultiChoice, the Africa continent’s biggest pay-TV platform, started the Great Wall bouquet – a separate Chinese channels bouquet with channels provided by China’s state-run China Central Television (CCTV).
It was also a year ago that CCTV News started the daily dedicated hour long show Africa Live, providing viewers across Africa on CCTV News with news coverage, profile stories as well as breaking and leading news stories of the day of about what is happening in Africa as the CCTV Africa production office came into operation.
Besides the daily Africa Live, CCTVN has Talk Africa, the weekly talk and current affairs show with presenter Beatrice Marshall.
There also the documentary strand, Faces of Africa, on CCTV News which is a profile documentary series chronicling African leaders and positive role models like a female pilot in Ghana for instance.
Although CCTV Africa is headquarted in East Africa with a production staff of now almost 70 people, CCTV Africa and CCTV News has aggressive expansion plans. CCTV Africa is on an ambitious roll-out plan for new news bureaux across the continent.
Guy Henderson who worked for the BBC and was at Al Jazeera is for instance already based in South Africa as a correspondent for CCTV Africa.
South Africa’s 24-hour news channel eNCA (DStv 403) also got into the act with extremely positive Sino-Africa media relations, marked by breathless reporting this past week with eNCA’s John Bailey who conducted an “exclusive” interview with China’s new president Xi Jinping.
The eNCA was quick to stress that it was “granted the first international TV interview” with Xi Jinping “ahead of other 24-hour news networks”.
Th e.tv and Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI) publicity machine also went into overdrive to show Marcel Golding, the CEO of Sabido Investments (owner of e.tv and the eNCA) getting facetime with (and a photo-op!) with Xi Jinping in Beijing two weeks ago.
China which is heavily investing in Africa in order to secure energy and oil contracts as well as other resources for its own booming economy, is now ramping up its media relations, media coverage of Africa, and its media intercontinental ties with the continent, as part of that economic growth strategy.
As China’s hunger for African resources grow to help supply its own energy demands, CCTV News is helping by building and fostering a positive image of China through not only portraying China positively through the state-run television news organisation, but also putting more of Africa’s untold stories in a positive light.
That has the double-barrel effect of not only making Africa look good and China look good, but strengthening the overall relationship and business ties between African countries and China