17 December, 2011

CCTV News Africa

For most Africans, since their countries got independence, BBC has been the most preferred and most tuned to - news channel from a foreign country. Then, for TV viewers, in the 1990s came CNN; which was then followed by Al Jazeera. All along, the French on their part have been transmitting news in French and in English. But, whoever thought of Africans tuning in to a Chinese news channel?

That's what the main international Chinese channel is aiming at: CCTV (China Central TeleVision) - headquartered in Beijing,  is soon going to expand. The state broadcaster is launching a major expansion in pursuit of an international audience, increasing its overseas staff fivefold by the end of next year and almost tenfold by 2016. It hopes to win millions of viewers in the US and Africa with English-language services produced in Washington and Nairobi.......At the heart of operations will be six hubs: two probably in London and Dubai and others in South America and the Asia Pacific region.......It is understood to have hired some 150 people, with Washington gaining 60 staff. Most will be working for the English- and other foreign-language channels. In Nairobi, the Kenyan vice-president has said Chinese officials plan to increase CCTV's staff from 12 to 150. It has poached high-profile anchors from local networks for CCTV Africa.

CCTV Beijing
For Western countries, especially their main stream media organizations, this move by the Chinese - is not welcomed. It is suspiciously viewed as a way; for this powerful, fast growing country - increasing and expanding its global influence. For the last two decades, China has rapidly and vigorously been expanding its influence in Africa: economically and politically. And now, it intends to do that culturally. Many African countries have greatly benefited from China's economic influence. As for China widening its news into Africa, it doesn't really matter how influential that would be. But, for a change - Africans will have more choices, options and a variety when listening to international news channels from foreign lands. For a change, Africans will have news from a Chinese perspective. Which is certainly much more different from/to all the other Western dominated news medias.

August 2012: You can now tune in to CCTV's Africa Live. With its headquarters in Nairobi, most of its main news anchors are Kenyans. The best time to view the channel is between 8.00 PM and 9.00 PM East African time.

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