Zimbabwean media organisations urged to embrace technology




MEDIA organisations should embrace digital platforms to expand their markets and maximise profits following a sharp rise in the number of people using mobile phones, a Chinese media expert has said.

Speaking during a seminar for Zimbabwean journalists in Jinhua in China recently, the head of the College of Creative Culture and Communication at China’s Zhejiang Normal University (ZNU), Professor Tian Zhongchu, said the traditional media should embrace technology to avoid extinction following the advent of social media.

“Of late the mainstream media throughout the world has experienced drastic changes in as far as the consumption of news is concerned. There has been a sharp rise in mobile internet and an increase in the number of netizens (internet users) hence the need to move with times by embracing  digital platforms to reach out to audiences,” he said.

“There is a fast global technological development and the media should improve coverage of information through using digital platforms if they are to survive in the era of social media.”

Prof Tian said the number of netizens in China had reached 720 million in June this year translating to 96,3 percent compared to 95,1 percent in December last year.

He however, said there was a need for social media to be regulated. In China it is a punishable offence to violate the country’s laws using social media platforms. The Chinese government through the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) controls both print and electronic media.

Zimbabwe is also in the process of finalising the Computer Crime and Cyber Crime Bill to deal with crimes on the Internet and other electronic platforms.

The proposed law, which will be tabled before Parliament soon, comes against the backdrop of some Zimbabweans locally and abroad who are using the Internet to communicate subversive material which seeks to unconstitutionally remove the Government through violence.

Prof Jing Xiuming, also from ZNU’s School of Cultural Creativity and Communication, said the Western media has misconceptions about the China-Africa relations.

“The communication between China and Africa has always been sincere and responsible. The Western media portray a bad image about Africa and there are also misconceptions about our relations with Africa, particularly the win-win cooperation between China and the continent. In the midst of this public opinion, having a voice is important for the new era mainstream Chinese and African media,” he said.

Prof Tian said movies have a strong effect on the lives of people hence the need to use the media to protect the existing China-Africa relations.

“The Western media have a hidden agenda because their cultural view is different from ours and they feel we are a threat because of our development. In fact, it is a great mystery to the West how China developed into the world’s second powerful economy in the last 30 years,” he said.

China offers digital services in film and video production in several African countries as part of strengthening relations. – Chronicle