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What Is Chinese “Constructive Journalism” and Will It Work in Africa?

The Chinese definition of journalism is significantly different than that in most of Africa and for much of the rest of the world. Most importantly, the news media in China is tightly controlled by the communist party and, as such, is not afforded the kind of editorial independence that newspapers, radio and other news outlets enjoy in other countries. 

But beyond the obvious political censorship, the Chinese have a different understanding of journalism’s role in society. Rather than serve in an investigative or adversarial role, the media in China is expected to be solutions oriented in its reporting. The concept, known as “constructive journalism,” is not unique to China as it’s also practiced in some European countries as well but it’s more pervasive there than anywhere else in the world.

Professor Zhang Yanqiu, director of the Africa Communication Research Center at the Communication University of China, is one of China’s foremost scholars in “constructive journalism” and joins Eric & Cobus to discuss whether or not she feels the model is applicable in Africa.

Show Notes:

About Zhang Yanqiu:

Zhang Yanqiu is the Deputy Dean of Journalism and the Director of the Africa Communication Research Centre at the Communications University of China in Beijing. Zhang is a pioneer in the field of media literacy research in China. Her 2012 dissertation, “Understanding Media Literacy: Origins, Paradigms and Approaches,” was among the first in-depth Chinese studies in the field. Zhang has been a visiting scholar at the London School of Economics and Political Science and the University of New South Wales, Sydney.

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