SOAS University of London

Cynicism in Kenyan Newsrooms: Communication Dilemmas under China-African Media

Dr. Weidi Zheng, SOAS

Date: 14 October 2020Time: 3:00 PM

Finishes: 14 October 2020Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: Virtual Event

Type of Event: Virtual Webinar

Kenya is the node of China’s Belt and Road Initiative in Africa and the hub of Chinese media engagements with the continent. With China’s expanding interests in Africa, Beijing launched China-African media cooperation programs persuading African media to speak against Western criticisms and to manufacture a favourable public opinion for Chinese investments. This paper draws on ethnographic fieldwork to examine media interactions between Chinese state actors, Kenyan political forces, and the Daily Nation, the largest private press in Kenya and a significant media partner of China, regarding the controversial Chinese-build Standard Gauge Railway. Whereas Chinese actors complain local press is “biased” and carries no responsibility for Kenya’s development owing to the influence of the West, local journalists insist they are just playing a watchdog role. This paper argues that the local press has gone beyond the watchdog role; its journalistic practice shows multiple forms of cynicism with which the local press maintains scepticism towards Kenyan politicians and Chinese actors.

This event will take place on Zoom please follow this link. Passcode: 812564.

Organiser: Dr. Dina Matar, Chair, Centre for Global Media and Communication

Contact email: