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Media key to Sino-Africa ties: Chinese official

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-07-24 14:09

NAIROBI - The media is an important avenue in the promotion of friendship between Chinese and Africa people, a Chinese government official said on Monday.

That is the reason Chinese media firms with global reach have established their operations in Africa, said Chinese Embassy in Nairobi Counselor Yan Xiusheng told journalists.

"The media platforms have managed to portray the true picture of Africa to the Chinese people and the real China to the Africa people so as to increase Sino-Africa links," Yan said during the first China-Africa communication Conference which was organized by the Communication University of China, and Kenya's Daystar University and Multimedia University.

The conference brought over 100 communication scholars and practitioners from Africa, China and the rest of the world to share their experiences and create partnerships.

The conference comes a few days after the end of the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Beijing which announced a $20 billion development assistance to Africa.

"Through closer media partnership, the Chinese have gained an understanding of the economic and social achievement of Africa's while Africa people have discovered the rich cultural diversity of China," the counselor said.

Already all major Chinese media organizations have established African bureaus and nearly all of them are headquartered in Nairobi, Yan said that China is committed to nurturing and forging cooperation in the communication sector.

He added that Kenya is currently putting in place infrastructure that will allow the country to switch from analog to digital transmission by the end of this year.

"As a result a number of Chinese firms have established their operations in Kenya in order to ensure a smooth transition," he said.

Kenya's Minister of Information Samuel Poghisio said that the conference will be used as a platform to understand differences and similarities from a communication perspective and will serve as a starting point for nurturing a long term relationship.

Poghisio said that while western scholarship has contributed to the wealth in the communications arena, more global input is required.

"It is time to investigate with an impartial eye, how Africa and China can enrich the ongoing research in this field," he added.

The minister said that communication can serve as a bridge for greater economic and political cooperation in order to solve emerging challenges.

"After successful cooperation the economic field it is only natural that academics in both areas work together," he said.

He said that china's decision to use Kenya as the hub for its major media corporation is enhancing cultural exchanges.  

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of information Dr. Bitange Ndemo said the dominance of western media can be detrimental to local cultures.

"Kenya should ensure that it create local content especially in social media its heritage is retained," he said.

The ministry of information said that it will implement the outcome of the intellectual deliberations that emerge from the conference.

Vice president Professor Hu Zhengrong of Communication University of China said Africa and China should have direct media coverage without reliance on third parties.

"Both regions are going through similar developmental challenges so the citizens on both sides will understand each other easily," he said.

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