The conference “Russia-Africa: In the Media Spotlight” was held yesterday. Participants discussed the current state of the representation of Russia in African media, identified the key issues and identified solutions.
Having basic Russian language skills already provides Africans an opportunity to be educated in Russia, says Vladimir Kochin, managing director of the Russkiy Mir Foundation. According to him, it is necessary to promote Russian education in Africa and increase the number of exchange programs so that more Africans could see what Russia really is. He also mentioned that the fund’s newest centre is opening soon in Algeria.
According to Anna Belyaeva, managing director of the Association of Economic Cooperation with African States, Russia has to hold the second Russia-Africa Summit within the practical agenda. She mentioned that some specific projects and programs including the establishment of the state direct investment fund will be introduced at SPIEF-2021. “One can only penetrate Africa if it is done in a comprehensive manner. Our business agenda is highly connected with the media and cultural promotion,” Anna said.
Zenebe Tafesse Kinfu, president of the Union of African Diaspora, underlined that the success of the future Russia-Africa Summit implies the work with the information field. This includes managing the image of Russia in African countries and shaping public opinion.
The Director of the Centre of Public Diplomacy Tatyana Jolivet suggested that Russian media in local languages acting in Africa would be useful for wider information coverage.
Participants from African countries agreed with the need to widen the coverage of Russia in African media. According to Olga Gogolina, the head of the Cameroonian office of the Worldwide Business Alliance of Russian-speaking Women, currently available publications on Russia shape the bias image and the myths on Russia and Russian business are fuelled by the western media.
Sid Ahmed, Director of the News Agency of the official TV-channel of Mauritania highlighted the low interest for Russia from the African audience. He believes it is due to weak connections between the two countries.
Wafaa Daoui, a Moroccan journalist, pointed out that Russian media pays more attention to the countries of Northern Africa.
The good level of mutual media coverage between Russia and Egypt was praised by Olga Shevel, Director of a tourist agency.
The Russian Association for International Cooperation jointly with the AECAS and TASS announced the upcoming establishment of the Association of Russian-speaking Journalists & Bloggers of Africa. According to the moderator Yuri Kukin, the proposals developed at the conference will be considered while shaping the framework for the Association.