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China and Botswana consumate media wedding

Officiating at the China-Botswana media seminar last Friday, Chinese Ambassador to Botswana, Liu Huanxing, said media partnerships between the two countries could enhance the existing socio-economic and cultural cooperation.

He said good media relationships could help Sino-Africa relations by bringing more tangible benefits to Africa because people will be informed about social and economic development initiatives rolled out by China. The Chinese would also benefit.

"Media exchanges and cooperation always play an important role in promoting people to people understanding between our two countries," he said.

Citing some of the achievements in the field of media cooperation, Huanxing said the presence of two resident reporters from the biggest news agency in China is a step in the right direction.

He added that media delegations from both countries have visited each other and learnt each others' ways of delivering their products to the audience.

Gou Jun, a resident reporter from Xinhua News Agency of China, said despite the two countries' different media landscape, media practitioners from both countries can learn from each other and their content can help promote investment opportunities and other important forms of bilateral relations.

Introducing his news agency to the local media, Jun said Xinhua is the biggest media group in China and one of the major international news agencies alongside Reuters, AFP and AP. Presently, it has over 150 branches all over the world and 18 of them are in Sub-Sahara African countries.

"Objectivity and impartiality are two most import principles we are pursuing. We cover issues in Africa and in the world from a typical oriental perspective which is always absent in the Western media, so we offer the media in the world an option to look at the same issues from a different angle," he said.

Xinhua presently delivers print and photojournalism in Chinese, English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Portuguese and Japanese. It also offers audio and video content in Chinese and English.

Moreover, it supplies news and information services according to customers' demand, and special edition for newspaper and TV station subscribers. "Recent years have seen progress in the cooperation between Chinese and African media. Presently Xinhua has nearly 200 media subscribers in Africa, and most of them are media of countries where there are Xinhua offices," he said.

Kenya is one country that Jun described as having a successful cooperation with Xinhua. He added that an agreement between The Nation group of Kenya and his agency was entered into to set up a Chinese column in the newspaper and a China vision on their TV station, introduce Chinese politics, culture, economy and even business chances, which he labelled as 'fruitful' However, he said effective cooperation between the African and Chinese media is still lagging behind, especially in the southern African countries.

He attributed this to a lack of understanding between Chinese and African people, and urged the two media landscapes to inform and enlighten people about each other, and serve as bridges between people from different countries.

He concluded that as today's media industry undergoes change, it is important to look at the broader world not only with a Western point of view.

"I am glad to look at Botswana in light of your point of view and introduce the real Botswana and its media to China and to the world. I am also glad to offer you a new window to look into China, Africa and the world which is somewhat different from Western media," he said in closing.

(Monitor, 25 October 2010)

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