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Media cooperation with Africa growing

By Fang Aiqing | China Daily | Updated: 2018-06-27 09:13
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China and African countries should share experiences and cooperate more in media operations, program production, technical services and personnel training, according to Nie Chenxi, minister of the State Administration of Radio and Television.

Nie made the proposal in Beijing on Tuesday during the Fourth Forum on China-Africa Media Cooperation.

More than 400 government officials and heads of media organizations from more than 40 African countries and China attended. Discussions included media policy exchanges, digitization and content development. Twelve cooperative agreements were signed.

The Joint Statement on Further Deepening Exchanges and Cooperation was adopted, declaring a consensus that China and African countries will intensify policy dialogues and deepen industrial cooperation in media.

The forum is to coordinate with the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation to be held in September. It would help further implement media sector tasks in the action plan created during the 2015 Johannesburg Summit of FOCAC in South Africa.

Nie also called for exploration on new areas of media cooperation and the broadening of cooperative fields.

Dora Siliya, Zambia's minister of information and broadcasting services, said her nation has achieved many milestones in media development through cooperating with China, such as in personnel training and building backbone infrastructure through digital migration.

During the Johannesburg summit, President Xi Jinping said China would implement access to satellite TV for 10,000 African villages and provide training for 1,000 media professionals from Africa.

African countries "have been able to engage with China much more closely recently with a focal platform that has been initiated by the Chinese leadership", she said.

Some 500 Zambian villages were included and, Siliya said, many children have been able to see a TV program for the first time.

According to Guo Ziqi, vice-president of StarTimes Ltd, charged with implementing the program, a total of 10,112 villages in 25 African countries will benefit from the program, which will be completed by year's end.

The African Union of Broadcasting has always considered China an important partner and trusts in the sustainability of its support for training media professionals, said Gregoire Ndjaka, the group's chief executive officer.

Five Kenyan reporters who are being trained in China participated in the coverage of the forum, said Leo Boruett, deputy director general of Kenya's communications authority.

David Winston Agaba, director general of Uganda's state TV broadcaster, said, "We believe that the goodwill of the Chinese people will help us understand how we can also leapfrog in our development like the Chinese people have done."

However, as African countries have put greater emphasis on content production during their digital transformation, they have also encountered difficulty in producing quality public programs, Ndjaka said.

He said African countries are still in need of facilities, funds, techniques and most importantly, quality content.

"I hope that through today's forum, our needs can be seen and more joint efforts will be taken to improve the quality and quantity of the programs," Ndjaka said.

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