Lovemore Chikova in BEIJING, China
THE biased coverage of Africa and China by Western media needs to be broken as it is not good for progressive cooperation of the two, an official has said.
China Public Diplomacy Association vice president Mr Gong Jianzhong last week told journalists from several African countries that the biased reporting was a huge cause for concern from both sides.
The journalists are here on a 10-month study, where they are taking lectures at Renmin University of China School of Journalism and Commun- ication.
“We should break the domination of the Western media in Africa and in China,” said Mr Gong. “If you look at world media reporting on Africa, its impact is that many ordinary Chinese people will say Africa is about poverty and disease.
“Is that all about Africa? No! I was in a number of African countries and was impressed by the development of their culture, the spirit of the people and the rich countries.”
Mr Gong said Africa had abundant resources and hardworking people, but that was seldom reported by the Western media. He said until recently, biased Western media reports on Africa were the source of most Chinese media reports until the country decided to have some OF its media personnel stationed in countries on the continent.
Mr Gong said it was important to note that African countries would find it difficult to establish bureaus in China, because of lack of resources, but that should not stop cooperation among the media from both sides.
He said the slave trade was a tragedy for Africa, as it broke the cultural strength that used to exist in countries on the continent. Despite that disruption, African culture remained strong, though it could have been at a higher level had there been no slave trade.
“China is very strong because of its strong and uninterrupted culture,” said Mr Gong. “We learnt from our ancestors, that is why the Chinese are always united in fighting together to prevent invasion by foreign countries.
“We do not want to see Chinese culture becoming similar to that of Britain or the United States. They should have their own culture and we have our own to make the world colourful. Likewise, Africa’s culture and history are very important to the continent. I think African countries must continue to keep the tenets of their own culture,” he said.