Monday, August 3, 2009

2009 China-Africa Media Seminar opens in Beijing

source: Republic of Botswana (1/8/09): TAUTONA TIMES no 19 of 2009
The Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
"Democracy, Development, Dignity and Discipline"

E1a) 16/7/09: 2009 China-Africa Media Seminar opens in Beijing

(Beijing) Senior press officials and media executives from China and Africa gathered in Beijing on today for the opening of the 2009 Media Seminar for the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

During the Seminar, senior media representatives from 25 African countries will be exchanging views with their Chinese counterparts on ways enhancing cooperation and deepening the friendship between China and Africa.

Botswana is represented at the Seminar by the BGCIS Coordinator, Dr. Jeff Ramsay, and the DBS Director, Mr. Mogomotsi Kaboeamodimo.

During the Seminar's opening session the Head of the International Bureau of the Chinese State Council Information Office (SCIO), Jiang Weiqiang, observed that media organizations from China and Africa should play an active role in consolidating the development momentum of relations between China and Africa.

"Exchanges and cooperation in the area of journalism are important parts of China-Africa cooperation. It is helpful in building mutual understanding between Chinese and African people, consolidating the China-Africa traditional friendship and pushing for mutually beneficial cooperation."

In responding to Mr. Jinag's remarks, Ms. Flomo Eve Mamie of Liberia said, on behalf of the African officials present, that to enhance China-Africa exchanges and cooperation in the field of journalism is of great significance in promoting China-Africa friendly cooperative ties.

She hoped this seminar will help the participants to gain a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of China.

"We anticipate a continuation of this human resources development cooperation program that would allow for the constant exchange of ideas and provide a clear understanding of China's social and economic development policy for the African continent."

She added that the press officials are ready to make more contributions to strengthening journalistic exchanges and pushing forward friendly and cooperative relations between Africa and China.

In keynote remarks for the session's second roundtable [full text E1b below] Dr. Ramsay observed that:

"A prerequisite for our South-South dialogue to move from mixed expectations to mutual empathy and collective empowerment lies in the simple truth that we must work at being true of ourselves and to each other."

He further observed that, given the current dominance of a handful of corporate conglomerates based in the west of the global flow of news and information, achieving a clear understanding of even who we are in our own homes, much less behind what lies behind the walls of our neighbours in the global village, remains a challenge.

Also at the roundtable, Mr. Rajah Munamava of the New Era newspaper in Namibia observed that the agenda of African media practitioners, more especially those working in the public sector should be focused on issues of development, adding that such reporting was being neglected on the continent in favour of politics and sensationalism.

Mr. Munamava further decried the failure of African media institutions in general to establish their own clear standards of reporting in favour of western benchmarks.

For his part Mr. Kaboeamodimo expressed his hope that the FOCAC process would lead to greater Chinese participation in African media fora such as the Southern African Broadcasting Association (SABA), which will soon be convening its annual meeting in Lesotho.

He further expressed his belief that ways could be found to increase the exchange of programming between FOCAC partners.

Already through the FOCAC process, media exchanges and cooperation between senior officials from China and African countries has been increasing.

China has established communication mechanisms with the information departments of ten African countries, including recently signed letters of intent on media exchanges and cooperation with Kenya's Ministry for Information and GCIS-South Africa.

In this respect interest has been expressed in the possibility of also forging greater cooperation between Botswana and Chinese media stakeholders, with the suggestion that such a process should seek to take on board private as well as public media houses.

Since 2004, China has held five seminars for Chinese and African press officials. The Seminar is jointly sponsored by SCIO and the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

During the Seminar the African delegates will have the opportunity to interact with senior Chinese officials, including Ministers and members of the Politboro, as well as representatives of leading Chinese media and communications institutions.

(?) Below please find remarks by Dr. Ramsay. Also attached is a photo of the session.

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