China-africa cooperative media coverage moving toward more solution-focused reporting
The Chinese media and its engagement with Africa should be seen from a constructive journalism perspective, which focuses on one problem for a period of time to stimulate discourse that can lead to a solution.
For Lovering Sichizya, a 37-year-old Zambian journalist working with the Zambia News and Information Services, a one-year master’s program in China has brought fresh enthusiasm for his chosen profession.
“The most interesting thing I’ve learned in China is how the media can contribute to the solution of social dilemmas in society, using the constructive journalism approach,” he told Chinafrica, adding that constructive journalism is a new concept he learned here.
Constructive journalism seeks to move away from focusing on conflict and negative coverage, to a more solution-focused reporting style that engages people affected by issues and presents suggestions of how to fix what’s broken.
Sichizya came to China thanks to the International Master in International Communication for Developing Countries. Sponsored by China’s Ministry of Commerce, the annual one-year master’s program is in its fifth year, having been organized by the Communication University of China (CUC) since September 2011.
“We have been able to immerse ourselves in China - the people, language, culture and political landscape,” said Sichizya. “This program provides an authentic narrative of China and its people from firsthand accounts.”
Over the past five years, more than 60 African journalists from 20 countries have participated in this program, according to Zhang Yanqiu, the program’s director and director of Africa Communication Research Center at CUC.
“African correspondents are keen to be involved with Chinese media to both learn more about what is taking place in China and have an opportunity to contribute authentic news about what is happening in Africa on the ground,” said Zhang. ciation (CPDA), the program aims to provide African journalists with better access to China-related news, as per the commitment made at the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-africa Cooperation in 2012 to promote China-africa practical cooperation, said Lu Fengding, Vice President of CPDA. The program was launched in February 2014.
“The program offered not only an in-depth revision of my knowledge, but also the discovery of numerous wonders. Traveling to about 10 provinces has enlightened me a lot about this ancient civilization and its magnificent cultural heritage,” said Zekarias Woldemariam, the publications editor with Ethiopia’s Government Communications Affairs Office, who participated in the program in 2015. “My journey to China can be taken as only a beginning. Exploring more about China will remain a lifelong interest,” he added.
It’s all part of the increasing collaboration between the Chinese and African media outlets in recent years. Major Chinese media outlets have established a sound infrastructure and a broad range of channels on the continent.
China Radio International began broadcasting from Nairobi a decade ago, while Xinhua News Agency has set up more than 20 bureaus across the continent. In 2012, China Central Television (CCTV) established a CCTV Africa base in Nairobi, and the Chinafrica magazine, a monthly publication in English and French, opened its Africa Bureau in Johannesburg, South Africa. In addition, China