The internationalization of Chinese media: a production study of CGTN Africa

Dani Madrid-Morales


Since the mid-2000s, China’s State-owned media have engaged in a process of internationalization that has the objective of increasing Beijing’s ability to sway global public opinion. Africa, where some of the most influential Chinese media (Xinhua, CRI, China Daily…) have set up regional headquarters, is the continent where this process is more clearly seen. One of these news organizations is CGTN Africa, China’s Central Television’s (CCTV) production and broadcasting centre in Nairobi (Kenya). This paper uses 36 in-depth interviews with current and former CGTN Africa employees to answer three questions: what is the news production process like at the station; what are the news values most commonly used in the newsroom; and, what impact does CGTN Africa have on media professionals in the continent. The analysis of interviews reveals, on the one side, a constant negotiation between agency and structure, which leads to a hybrid news product that could be labelled, paraphrasing other similar uses, “African news with Chinese characteristics.” On the other hand, this paper calls for more academic research on communication processes between countries and regions in the Global South.


Africa; audience; CGTN; China; internationalization; journalism

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