The China-Africa Media Webinar on Combating COVID-19 is hosted by China International Publishing Group
In the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, media professionals in China and Africa need to be clear about their mission and responsibilities, and should enhance communication and cooperation, said Fang Zhenghui, Vice President of China International Publishing Group (CIPG), at a China-Africa media webinar on Combating COVID-19 held on June 3.
According to Fang, media should serve as a "watchtower" for the society, so as to share information with higher efficiency and more value; a "stabilizer" for the public, so as to unite them to fight the disease; and a "bridge" for China and Africa, so as to promote the joint building of a community with shared future.
Fang Zhenghui, Vice President of CIPG
“The management of major public health emergencies requires joint efforts from the international community in communication, cooperation and information sharing. This requires greater emphasis on international communication by all countries,” he said.
With the theme of Stand Together to Overcome Difficulties, the webinar was hosted by CIPG and jointly organized by the CIPG Training Center and China Internet Information Center. Twelve press officials and media professionals from nine countries including China, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana and Kenya shared their thoughts and experiences around the topic of "strengthening China-Africa cooperation and pooling the media’s anti-epidemic efforts worldwide." The participants agreed that the COVID-19 pandemic brings both challenges and opportunities.
Naatogmah Abdul Karim, Manager in Charge of Communication and Media Relations at Ghanaian National Health Insurance Authority
Naatogmah Abdul Karim, Manager in Charge of Communication and Media Relations at Ghanaian National Health Insurance Authority, pointed out that the outbreak of COVID-19 has created a global health crisis that has a deep impact on the global economy, particularly the African continent. Facing the pandemic, the media should fulfill the responsibilities of publishing important information, spreading public health knowledge, monitoring and tracking the implementation of epidemic control measures, correcting epidemic-related misinformation and building a cooperation platform to jointly fight COVID-19.
Kome Slesor Ebane, Divisional Delegate of Communication for Meme Division of the Cameroonian Ministry of Communication
Kome Slesor Ebane, Divisional Delegate of Communication for Meme Division of the Cameroonian Ministry of Communication, said that her previous exchanges and study in China had deepened her understanding of the status and trend of Chinese media development. She suggested that the Chinese and Cameroonian media realize larger-scale information sharing and more extensive cooperation through international platforms and people-to-people exchanges. “Together, the two sides can contribute to the fight against COVID-19 and the building of a community of shared future,” said Ebane. She believes that only through unity can the international community finally overcome the pandemic.
Li Jianguo, Associate Editor in Chief of BEIJING REVIEW
Li Jianguo, Associate Editor in Chief of BEIJING REVIEW, introduced the stories and reports about Chinese and African people's fight against COVID-19 published in ChinAfrica, a monthly magazine published by BEIJING REVIEW, and stressed the role of the media in maintaining social stability and boosting confidence of the public during the epidemic. He called for increased cooperation between Chinese and African media in fighting COVID-19. “We should share more valuable information and experience that have proven to be successful and effective,” he said.
Asfaw Worku Belachew, journalist with The Ethiopian Herald
Asfaw Worku Belachew, a journalist with The Ethiopian Herald, said that since the COVID-19 outbreak, China has been determinedly taking prevention and control measures and carrying out international cooperation, demonstrating its responsible attitude toward the health of its own people, the African people and the people around the world. Africa can learn from China these methods. He hopes that the Chinese and African media will maintain long-term partnerships and jointly overcome the pandemic and address global issues.
Migiro Jared Ombui, Digital Manager of Kenya Broadcasting Corp.
Migiro Jared Ombui, Digital Manager of Kenya Broadcasting Corp., noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has made people more aware that the world is a community with shared future. In the face of this common crisis, the international community needs to unite and work together more than ever before. He highlighted the significance of China-Africa media cooperation. He also suggested that in order to strengthen global efforts in epidemic prevention and control, it is necessary to enhance the role of mainstream media in China and African countries and establish a positive relationship through exchanges and interaction.
Li Yang, Director of the Editorial Office of the Opinion Department of China Daily
Li Yang, Director of the Editorial Office of the Opinion Department of China Daily, said that during the global fight against COVID-19, some Western media reports on China’s and Africa's anti-epidemic efforts lack authenticity. The mainstream media from China and Africa should unite to resist these erroneous remarks and claims, publish news and reports with accuracy and fairness, and make more concrete efforts to boost confidence and save lives. He also suggested that the African people could set up websites in Chinese language to help Chinese people gain first-hand information directly from the African countries.
Worzie Samuel Freeman, National Public Relations Officer for the Ruling Coalition for Democratic Change in Liberia
Worzie Samuel Freeman, National Public Relations Officer for the Ruling Coalition for Democratic Change in Liberia, said that in the face of this global health crisis, people are experiencing something termed as "an international conspiracy" against the African continent by the West. African countries would like to thank their bilateral partners who have chosen to remain kind and resilient in mustering a collective approach to the fight against the disease, in spite of this conspiracy.
Doreis Victor Jafar, Announcer of Radio Mozambique
Doreis Victor Jafar, Announcer of Radio Mozambique, introduced the progress of Mozambique's fight against COVID-19 and the support provided by the international community. He said that all countries should strengthen international anti-pandemic cooperation with a scientific attitude, so as to jointly overcome the pandemic.
Luo Jun, Deputy Director of the English Desk of International News Department of Xinhua News Agency
Luo Jun, Deputy Director of the English Desk of International News Department of Xinhua News Agency, took the agency's reports on Africa's epidemic situation as an example to illustrate the similarities between China and African countries. For instance, the voices of China and Africa have not been completely heard on the international stage, some even being deliberately misinterpreted by the West. Some "ill-disposed" people distorted the global issues to undermine the official and people-to-people exchanges and cooperation. She also expressed her hope that the media would strengthen communication and cooperation, make the media's voice heard, and jointly build a community with shared future for China and Africa.
Raphael Bamidele Oni, Editor in Chief of Diplomats Extra Magazine in Nigeria
Raphael Bamidele Oni, Editor in Chief of Diplomats Extra Magazine in Nigeria, put forward suggestions to strengthen the cooperation between the Chinese and African media by analyzing the challenges posed to the media by COVID-19. He said that the majority of the media houses in Nigeria are owned by private individuals. The lockdown affected a lot of private organizations. Media professionals are facing the risks of lower wages and even layoffs, which may hinder timely and effective information sharing. In this situation, they should redouble efforts in advocating media reform and innovation, establishing media circles, and building a regular exchange platform to allow closer communication between Chinese and African media.
Mukholi David, Managing Editor at Editorial of Vision Group in Uganda
Mukholi David, Managing Editor at Editorial of Vision Group in Uganda, analyzed the effects of COVID-19 on media production and distribution. He said that during the pandemic, online media have grown rapidly, and print media need to adapt to the new trends and cope with the challenges brought by new media landscape. He called on the Chinese and Ugandan media to jointly fight the pandemic. He also illustrated the news and reports of Vision Group's newspaper on Ugandan people's anti-epidemic efforts in Guangzhou, China.
Wang Xiaohui, Editor in Chief of China Internet Information Center
Summarizing the discussions, Wang Xiaohui, Editor in Chief of China Internet Information Center, said that as media professionals, all speakers expounded both personal views and professional practices, detailed the current situation of anti-epidemic reporting in China and Africa, and discussed the role that both Chinese and African media should play in epidemic control.
Attendants of the webinar
The participants reached the consensus that China and Africa should strengthen cooperation to meet the current challenges and build a community of shared future. These practices will demonstrate the sense of mission and responsibility of the media professionals on both sides. He also hoped that in the future, all media can uphold the concept of "building a community of shared future for humanity," fulfill their responsibilities, and carry out more fruitful cooperation in international communication.
The webinar was co-organized by BEIJING REVIEW, Beijing Bosheng International Cultural Exchange Co. Ltd. and Beijing Xufang International Digital Culture Media Co. Ltd. All of the African participants had attended the foreign aid training seminar hosted by the CIPG Training Center.