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South Africa: SA, China Commit to Stronger Partnership in Communication
2017/05/10

Pretoria - South Africa and China have committed to taking cooperation in the field of communications to greater heights.

This emerged during a meeting between Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo and her Chinese counterpart, Tong Gang, in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

The two countries signed an agreement in communication on Monday as part of the High Level People-to-People Exchange Mechanism (PPEM).

Inaugurated in Pretoria on Monday, the PPEM allows the two countries to exchange information and identify common objectives and strategies, and create opportunities for people in both countries to benefit from the sharing of social, cultural and economic capital across government, academia, business and civil society.

The communication agreement between South Africa and China will see collaboration flourishing between radio and television broadcasters from both countries in terms of news coverage and promotion of cooperation in documentaries, television drama, film and animation, as well as mutually enriching content.

There are also plans to promote technical exchange and cooperation in the field of public radio and television broadcasting, and the creation of communication and training opportunities for general and technical professionals active in their respective countries.

Speaking through an interpreter, Minister Tong said he hoped the agreement would start with the exchange of personnel.

"Our idea is to see cooperation between our television groups to mutually broadcast documentaries. It is also our wish to host a Chinese theatre here so that more of our programmes can be broadcasted," he said.

Minister Tong said the agreement has a lot of scope to strengthen cooperation in news coverage for the dissemination of just and objective information to the world for "our mutual benefit".

He used the opportunity to invite South Africa to the BRICS media summit, which will be held ahead of the BRICS leaders' summit in September.

"In order to enhance the exchange programme between the BRICS countries, we will be hosting the BRICS TV Week with all our counterparts," said Minister Tong.

In response, Minister Dlodlo affirmed support for the exchange of personnel, something she said both countries would need to work on to realise the objectives thereof.

Minister Dlodlo said Communications Deputy Minister Thandi Mahambehlala would focus her energies on nurturing the relations emanating from the agreement inked with China.

The Minister also committed to facilitate a path leading to a content exchange programme between the South African and Chinese public broadcasters, and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) as the regulator.

Minister Dlodlo said South Africa would benefit from cooperation in innovation in the broadcasting sector, as China was one of the leading countries in this field.

"We will be visiting China to learn from your best practices," she said.

Already the two countries have a programme which sees government communications, journalists and broadcasters attending exchange programmes in China.

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