Journalists and the China story: Kenya

Perceptions of China are positive in Africa and Kenya is literally the headquarters of China’s foreign influence strategy.


Kenya key to China Strategy

China has had a strong presence in Africa since the 1960’s, well before many western countries engaged with the region. The modern form of this engagement is embodied by the fact CGTN, China’s most prominent state-run television station, is headquartered in Kenya. CGTN offers two to three times more salary than local news outlets and employs about 100 people, mostly Kenyan.

Over the past six years, CGTN has steadily increased its reach across Africa. It is displayed on televisions in the corridors of power at the African Union, in Addis Ababa, and beamed for free to thousands of rural villages in a number of African countries, including Rwanda and Ghana, courtesy of StarTimes, a Chinese media company with strong ties to the state.

China’s media presence is multi-platform. The China Daily is printed in Kenya and then distributed as an insert by local newspapers. On radio, there is a partnership between Kenya Broadcasting Corporation and the Nairobi-based China Radio International to share studios and programs. Meanwhile, Kenyan journalists visit China every year under a variety of sponsored training programs. In this way, China is shaping the structures of Kenyan media and the minds of Kenyan journalists.

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