Journalists from 11 African countries have participated in the China-Africa Media Forum to brainstorm how to deepen cooperation in the field of communications.
On the theme, “Win-win Co-operation for Common Progress,” the one-day forum, which took place in Johannesburg, South Africa, and was attended by about 40 journalists, was arranged to get journalists from China and the African continent to report from their own perspectives instead of relying on the Western media.
It was also to forge the exchange of content from Chinese and African journalists so that their peoples can gain a better understanding of the developments in Africa and China.
The journalists who were drawn from countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Zambia and Namibia shared experiences about their understanding of the cooperation between Africa and China and what could be done to deepen it, while their Chinese counterparts spoke about what to do to build a positive image about China and Africa.
The journalists said although negative news appeared to be attractive and a “better sell” on the market, there was the need for them to focus more on coverage that would promote better understanding of cooperation between Africa and China.
A Deputy Director of the State Council Information Office of China, Mr Guo Weimin, said the media should complement the political, economic and people relationship between Africa and China.
Chinese and African media
According to Mr Guo, Chinese and African media should counter the Western media which tended to portray the continent as that characterised by wars, diseases and poverty.
"The Chinese and the African media should counter the Western media stereotype. You should report truthfully about the Sino-Africa relations.
The Chinese and African media should walk hand in hand and strengthen reporting in international affairs and make our voices heard on issues of fairness and rationality," Mr Guo said.
The Chinese Ambassador to South Africa, Mr Lin Songtian, said the media should articulate the success stories of both partners.
He stated that China was in Africa for a win-win situation to help build infrastructure, transfer skills and create jobs, hence the media should work towards strengthening Sino-Africa relations.
"African and Chinese media should work towards common development. We have to build the positive image of our relations, share our common values, friendship and common interest. Both sides should stand up and loudly tell people of the world who their true and reliable friend is," Mr Lin said.
He urged the Western media to visit the quality infrastructural projects in Kenya, Zambia, Ethiopia and other African countries so as to report on them accurately.
The Regional Executive Editor of Independent Media, Mr Kevin Ritchie, said South Africa’s Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) membership had enabled the country to harness with different parts of the world, particularly nations with very similar backgrounds and challenges.
“As media from China and South Africa, we can use the forum to forge bonds, learn from one another, discuss the shortcomings we might have and find solutions to problems that are actually common to both of us, reflecting the needs of our realities,” he indicated.
The Chief Editor of Kenya’s Standard, Mr Andrew Kagwa Gathaara, said Chinese media practitioners were currently on attachment in African media houses and they had employed Africans to tell their own story.
The Editor of the Daily Graphic, Mr Ransford Tetteh, praised the Chinese government for extending scholarships to Ghanaian journalists to study in China and expressed the hope that such opportunities would help build a better understanding between the two countries.
He also asked the media to project the relations between the two countries in a positive light.
Mr Tetteh, also known as Nana Kwaku Dei, the Nkosuohene of Pakro, near Nsawam, asked the journalists to focus more on the development challenges and the efforts to resolve them in the interest of the peoples of both countries.