Liberia: African Journalists Extol CCTV for Fair Coverage of Continent

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African journalists currently on a study tour in the People's Republic of China have applauded China Central Television (CCTV) after the network announced that it will provide more coverage to Africa to highlight development and positive issues about the continent to the rest of the world.

The Beijing-based Chinese media outlet, covering most parts of the world, currently broadcast just a one hour program for Africa, besides its 24 hour news service, and has an African headquarter based in Nairobi Kenya.

The Vice Director of CCTV Li Bin Friday told a team of 34 African journalists (including the Press Union of Liberia's Assistant Secretary General D. Kaihenneh Sengbeh) that his entity seeks to give a "better face" to Africa as a developing continent, unlike what appears on western TV stations.

Mr. Li told the journalists during a roundtable at the gigantic structure of the giant Chinese TV station that CCTV current has its African bureau headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, with just 11 journalists to cover the entire continent. Before the bureau was established months back, he said the entity solely depended on western media to report stories on Africa, but said this was not fair was to treat Africa.

"It is not fair to report Africa from the western eye," he admitted. "We have plans to enlarge our presence in Africa," he continued, disclosing that at least 15 more African correspondents will be recruited next year to boost up the CCTV coverage of Africa.

Many giant western media are accused of portraying Africa as a continent of darkness from where nothing good or positive comes except increasing wars, diseases, starvation, mass corruption and backwardness, among others.

Mr. Li said CCTV interest in the continent is to promote its development, showcase its positive attributes and most especially to balance the stories that come from there.

China as a nation has a huge interest and presence in Africa and has undertaken massive infrastructure development across the continent including the construction of the African Union's new headquarters.

Mr. Li however noted that CCTV's interest in Africa is not to promote Chinese businesses but to rather highlight the cordial relationship existing between African nations and China, too promote economic and infrastructure development and to tell the true African story to the rest of the word--void of biases and misrepresentations.

"We are planning to recruit more African journalists to highlight the development in Africa," Mr. Li noted and asked African journalists on the visit to suggest how they would want their continent should be presented to the rest of the world.

Many of the journalists including Liberia's D K Sengbeh welcomed CCTV planned expansion coverage of Africa, hoping that their respective countries which have growing Chinese population and investments, would benefit from the international coverage.

The journalists said they were pleased that CCTV was providing a balanced coverage of events in Africa, highlighting the continents progress, and commended Mr. Li for the additional time the media outlet would give the continent.

They urged CCTV to expand its bureau of the continent from Nairobi to other parts, at least on a regional level, to enable it get better coverage of the entire Africa.

The media practitioners from Liberia (D K Sengbeh and Police Spokesman George Benedict Bardue), Madagascar, Nigeria, Algeria, Sudan, Tanzania, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Malawi, Zambia, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Seychelles and Uganda are attending a media seminar for senior journalists and editors of developing African countries.

The Chinese government is footing every cost of the training as part of its human resource capacity building support to the continent, particularly the media. The participants of the training organized by the International Radio, Film and Television Media Research Center of State Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) are learning more about the Chinese media, culture and people. They are also having the opportunity to learn about the operations and roles of the media in each other's countries and to enable them used the positive attributes back home.

The journalists, as part of the training program, are visiting several parts of China including participating in national forums and events such as the 18th Shanghai Film and TV festival and the Mongolian Forum which climaxed over the weekend--all giving a deep insight of the bustling Chinese radio and TV industries.