By Zamaradi Kawawa, Maelezo, Beijing, China.
African countries and China have agreed to strengthen Africa - China Media Cooperation to improve media quality through experience sharing of implementation of media policies, capacity building programs for journalists, digitalization and development of new media.
Sharing Tanzanian experience in digital migration at the Third Forum on China - Africa Media Cooperation in Beijing today, Deputy Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports Mrs Annastazia Wambura said Tanzania is now commemorating one year of migration from analogue to digital terrestrial television (DTT). She said although the process was challenging it was accomplished due to sound policies, regulatory framework and Government Commitment.
She told the forum that as of now, close to two million Tanzanians are enjoying quality television programmes from locally and foreign produced content enriching the people's choice and diversity.
Mrs Wambura pointed out a digital migration road map, political will, consultation with stakeholders, a communication strategy , public private partnership (PPP) in the area of cost sharing and consumer consideration in the purchase of affordable services and equipment contributed to the smooth analogue to digital migration in broadcasting ahead of ITU deadline of 17th June, 2015.
She said the achievement was contributed largely by the Public Private Partnership between Star Communication Network Technology (Star Times ) from China which in May 2009 formed a joint venture company - Star Media (Tanzania) Limited with the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC), the Country's public broadcaster.
However, the Zimbabwe Minister for Media, Information and Broadcasting Mr. Christopher Chindoti Mushohwe said efforts that strengthen African Media to fight against negative media coverage of African countries and China by Western countries should be applauded.
" The establishment of strong indigenous media in African countries will reduce dependence of western global media which is negative to African countries and China. Zimbabwe is ready to cooperate with China in fighting western media negative coverage", he said.
A total of 350 participants including Government Ministers, Vice Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Chief Executive Officer of the AU Broadcasting, Chief Executive Officers of Radio and Television stations from 45 African Countries and China attended the meeting.
China Deputy Minister responsible for Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television Mr Tong Gang told the conference that China is ready to support African Countries in strengthening broadcasting digitalization, Training of media personnel, improvement of Television and Radio program production and quality of film production.
He said Chinese Government has set aside a total of 10 billion U.S. Dollars for China Africa cooperation in the areas of human resources development, media exchange programs , healthy and food security for three years.
He said his government would like to promote China Africa media cooperation and a total of 1,000 journalists from African countries would be trained at a newly established media centers in China.
Press Minister from Chad Mr Ali Ali Fei said African countries are in the transition period from analogy to digital broadcasting hence need China support in the installation of infrastructure for the digitalization process of broadcasting .
" we are in a critical stage of revolution. All African countries have to go through digitalization. New economy is built by digitalization" he said.
Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Mr Erastus Mwencha said African Countries need to safeguard their culture since they are now facing globalization culture that threatens to impose a new era of digital colonization.
He requested Chinese Government to assist African countries in facing the challenges in the areas of cyber security, technology transfer especially infrastructure and capacity building.
On his part, Professor LI Anshan from Peking University said the media in China and African countries should contribute to the development of their countries by broadcasting and publishing objective information and encourage exchange programs of training in the areas of information.
A two day forum was jointly organized by State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the people's Republic of China and the African Union of Broadcasting.
The forum is the implementation of the Johannesburg China- Africa cooperation Summit of 2015 action plan (2016-18) to serve the need for development of China- Africa comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership in a new era of China- Africa win win cooperation and common development.