China has invested millions in building a sizable media presence in Africa with hundreds of staff at CGTN’s production hub in Nairobi, stakes in South Africa’s Independent Media Group and dozens of Xinhua news agency bureaus across the continent. China thought that if it could build a TV network that could rival CNN or BBC, it could challenge the Western narrative in Africa. The problem is, the heavily censored programming on Chinese media platforms is not very compelling and there’s no evidence to suggest that CGTN or other Chinese media outlets in Africa are attracting any meaningful audiences.
For a continent where the average age is just 19.4 years old and where digital and social media are the dominant media channels, it should be obvious that traditional TV services like CGTN’s and newspapers like China Daily would largely be ignored by such a youthful demographic.
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