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How Russia intends to endear itself to African media

By Jeune Afrique

Posted on April 28, 2023 11:06

 © Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Russia-Africa parliamentary conference in Moscow on 20 March. VLADIMIR ASTAPKOVICH/SPUTNIK/AFP
Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Russia-Africa parliamentary conference in Moscow on 20 March. VLADIMIR ASTAPKOVICH/SPUTNIK/AFP

With the Russia-Africa summit scheduled to take place in July in St. Petersburg, Moscow is pursuing its media offensive on the continent. The purpose: create an association of Russian and African journalists.

Journalists, intellectuals, influencers, galore: about 60 of them took part in a webinar on 9 February, during which it was decided to create a new partnership between Russian and African media. Attendees will meet again on 3 May to establish a journalism association, made possible through the Russian African Club, the renowned Lomonosov Moscow State University, and the Sergei Lavrov-run Russian Foreign Ministry, which are at the helm.

‘Objective and reliableinformation’

Faced with a Western media apparatus considered responsible for the degradation of the Kremlin’s reputation, this new alliance aims to “coordinate the development of Russian-African relations in the field of dissemination of objective and reliable information,” according to a draft memorandum, which we were able to consult.

The memorandum specified that the Forum of Russian and African Journalists, designated as the “supreme body” of the new association, will meet once yearly. Between each edition, “working meetings, conferences, symposiums, joint studies, training seminars [, and so on,]” will be organised.

An exchange of content between African and Russian media outlets is also planned for television, “in print media, on news portals, and social networks.”

Other important points include “the opening of correspondents’ offices” on both sides and the support to “the creation of a database for the benefit of the independent African press, which would provide news bulletins for the media.”

Finally, the memorandum adds that links between “national, regional and local media” will be strengthened through the “exchange of information, training of journalists, and contacts between relevant ministries, agencies or commercial entities.” Names of the future media signatories were not disclosed.

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