Con­struc­tives­o­lu­tions

China-africa co­op­er­a­tive media cov­er­age mov­ing to­ward more so­lu­tion-fo­cused re­port­ing

ChinAfrica - - Lifestyle - By Liu Jian

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

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