Monday, February 18, 2008

China has nothing to do with less press freedom in Africa

By China Watcher

Reporters Without Borders, another political non-government group, claimed that China is to be blamed for the African countries increased abuse of human rights against journalist. The group added that China growing influence in Africa at the expense of European powers has emboldened the many governments to tighten the reins on dissident reporters and journalist. Jailing of reporters is a routine in most African countries these days. They concluded that China is toxic for Africa Freedom.

Firstly, why did the West suddenly shown an increased awareness of the type of government practices and the living standards of the Africans when they have ruled them for the past 2 centuries without any genuine concern for their livelihood and its living standards? This happened only after China openly increased its political and economic linkages with African countries in the last 5 years.

Secondly, most of the African countries are independent sovereign nations and China does not have the kind of extensive influence to tell them to practice or adopt more stringent control of its press and media. After all, most of these countries followed a form of democracy – where different level of press reporting is allowed. Most of these African countries have its own laws pertaining to political reporting and it is their right to implement such laws. Previously due to its dependence on its past colonial masters, it is unable to fully implement their information and press reporting laws as “special treatment” has to be given to foreign reporters.

Thirdly, it has been the consistent foreign policy of China not to interfere in the administration of a sovereign independent state.

Fourthly, no governments particularly those from the Third World (where the level of development is still in the infant stage) would allow you to carry journalistic work to condemn the present government in power. Some of these anti-establishment articles are not even constructive – it was merely published to serve the hidden agenda of certain parties. In this World, there are only a handful of countries which practiced the independence of the press. Not even in the democratic society of the US.

China burgeoning international trade with the African countries has given them a new revenue source and another lifeline to be less dependent on the West so that they could have a genuine say in the running of its own government and to decide for the well being of its own people. Since when does providing these nations a passage to make its own decision free from undue duress becomes a toxic to the press freedom of these countries?

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