Call for Papers – ” Reporting China in Africa’


The increased involvement of China in Africa has been one of the most controversial recent geopolitical developments on the continent.  Although Chinese involvement in Africa can be traced back for centuries, the development of China-Africa relations in the 21st century gained impetus when China started looking for new sources of energy and natural resources to support its rapid economic development.

This intensified political-economic relationship in the era of globalization and within a changing global geo-political landscape, started to raise questions as to how China’s renewed interest in Africa should be viewed – whether China should be seen as a ‘partner or predator’ in Africa. Critics contend that that China is trying to colonize Africa and that China’s ‘authoritarian capitalism’ development model, if successful in Africa, would directly challenge Western political philosophy. Concerns have been expressed that the lack of media freedom in China will also influence African governments to exert pressure on journalists.

Meanwhile, many African leaders consider closer economic and political affiliation with China an opportunity for future economic growth. South Africa’s membership of the BRICS alignment of countries, at the invitation of China, can be seen as such a response.

The suspicion of its motives and the stereotypes of China portrayed in African media, have not gone unnoticed by the Chinese authorities. They embarked on a ‘going out’ strategy to improve the country’s image abroad. Chinese national state media have been playing an important role in this endeavour. For instance, CNC World, the English-language TV channel of the Chinese State news agency Xinhua, reached cable television audiences in Africa from Jan. 1, 2011, following an agreement between CNC and South Africa-based MIH Group (part of the Naspers conglomerate which in itself has significant media interests in China). Xinhua’s launch of mobile news in sub-Saharan Africa in April, 2011 also enables mobile subscribers to receive Xinhua news. China’s broadcasting giant, Chinese Central Television (CCTV) launched its Africa head office operation in Kenya at the end of 2010, as a base from which to cover news on the whole continent. Clearly the representation of China in African media is an important area of focus for the Chinese government, underpinning its expansion into Africa.

For this special issue of Ecquid Novi: African Journalism Studies we are inviting articles that consider aspects of the mediation of Chinese involvement in Africa.  Topics may include, but are not limited, to the following:

  • Representations of China in African media
  • China’s extension of ‘soft power’ in Africa by means of the media
  • The interpenetration of Chinese and African media capital
  • The framing of China-African relationships within the shifting global geopolitical landscape
  • Discourses of colonialism and imperialism in journalistic coverage of China-Africa
  • Coverage China and South Africa as partners in the BRICS alignment of emerging states
  • Challenges for media systems theory
  • Media globalization and cultural imperialism via media
  • Press freedom, globalization and ‘soft power’

Enquiries: Herman Wasserman, Editor:

Deadline for submissions: 28 February 2013

Submit manuscripts online at

Instructions for authors:

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