The delegation of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) to Beijing, China, returned over the weekend to the country after a week-long tour of facilities organized by the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria.
During the facility tour, the team led by the President of the NGE, Mrs. Funke Egbemode, visited China Radio International (CRI), People’s Daily Newspapers, Silk Street, the most Internationalized Shopping Center, New Media Industrial Park, Film Production Base and Internet and Innovations Center, Beijing Urban Planning Exhibition Hall, Yanke Lake, Conference for Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, among others.
On the fourth day of their visit, the team departed for Beijing South railway station and rode on a bullet train to Tianjin city to visit the Tianjin Museum, Art Gallery, Natural Museum and Gallery International Shopping Center, Industrial Park, Italian Style Street Ancient Street and some traditional handicrafts, among others.The tour, which was coordinated by the China Radio International (CRI), was described by Mrs. Egbemode as an eye opener, saying different organisations in the Nigerian mass media will benefit more from coming together as a united force in the discharge of their duties as witnessed in China.
Speaking against the backdrop of the China experience where different media outfits are converged in one organization, the President said convergence, not competition as is obtained in Nigeria, would be more beneficial.She made the declaration just as she stressed the importance of continuous training and retraining of members as the focus of NGE under her leadership to the improvement of journalism as a profession.
Recounting her experience, she said: “The visit to China was a great eye opener. I saw in Tianjin the need for cooperation instead of competition. The Nigeria media is beleaguered, pressured and struggling, each one gasping for air instead of all of us sharing oxygen. We all need to work more together on convergence. The China Radio experience is a study in foresight and planning for the future.“In all, it was an educative trip and the NGE will strive to do more of it for more members. Training and retraining our members is one of the cardinal promises of the present executive body.”Speaking about their experiences other members of the team were unanimous in their appraisal of the trip to China, saying there were areas of cooperation between Nigeria and China that would be beneficial to both countries.
Mr. Fred Fabor, Vice President (East) of NGE and Director, Current Affairs, Niger Delta Television: “The week-long visit was very educative and enlightening as a print and broadcast personnel; it also revealed the well- known technological feat of the Chinese.
Personally, the issue of convergence is very instructive like the President stated. While there is need for convergence to ensure growth and enhance development, how do we protect the individual interests of media owners? Funding is also a major consideration. Who funds the project, the same question I asked in China and got no response? People’s Daily, China Radio and Star Times deployed the new media and its innovations in recording great feats, and I also believe the Exchange Programme provides a great training opportunity for our members. We must therefore consolidate on the gains of the historic visit.”
Ms. Husseina Akila, Head of the Editorial Unit, News Directorate, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN): “China has developed beyond our imagination. My impressions changed after the visit. I discovered they are meticulous at planning Beijing and Tianjin. They leave nothing to chance. They execute every detail taking into cognizance their high population and inevitability of growth.
“Our visit to the regional and town planning organization is a testimony to that. I saw a culture of discipline on the roads. With jumbo buses, cars, tricycles, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians on the same road, I did not see a single accident.
“The Chinese are advanced in technology. ICT is at its peak. They produce almost every equipment, and tools, they need in every sector. They have developed and diversified the automobile industry in varieties. Citizens can choose electric cars, diesel or petrol run cars. You can also imagine that if you cannot afford a bicycle, government makes them readily available for you to pick by the roadside and use. That’s about welfare of citizen at its best.
“The media convergence hub in Tianjin is new to me and its worth looking into. The People’s Daily attained the level of sustainability and diversification due to the technology, which they have in the country. Importing it would have made it tough. On the whole, there is a lot we can learn as editors and as a nation from China. Areas of cooperation and collaboration abound. The solar power firm/greenhouse, is what Nigeria can just replicate with the natural abundant sun resource.”
Ms. Victoria Ibanga, General Secretary of NGE and MD, The Next Edition Online: “When I was informed about a trip to China I was like ‘ Whaaaaat? A trip to China? What for? It is too far?’ But when I finally got there my impressions changed. The people and their products we refer to as “Chinko” have advanced too far technologically, socially and economically beyond our imaginations.
“China is focused on upgrading of its economy, and catching up with the global development in science and technology. GDP data shows continued expansion of its economy. The economy as measured by Gross Domestic Product remains unchanged from the first quarter and has remained in 6.9 per cent range for eight consecutive months, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics and published by China Daily last week.
“The media industry is a study in cooperation. They call it convergence. They work in cooperation with other media houses or establishments. And they have what they call a media hub where all partners are free to participate without fear of competition. Their online platforms are so sophisticated and beautiful to sit and watch. I was so engrossed watching the magic on the wall that I had to be “dragged” out of the People’s Daily media hub.
“The People’s Daily newspaper is the number one newspaper in China and number 10 in the world. It sells 30 million copies daily. It’s followership on the internet is huge, about 600 million.
The China Radio International (CRI), which was our host, has 65 languages of broadcast, including our own Hausa language. They are all housed in one massive building. One of the interesting things about CRI is that those in the Hausa service bear our names such as Sanusi (We added Mallam to his name because he was the leader of the team), Murtala, Amina and Bello. They speak Hausa language fluently even with panache.
“CRI has partnership with Freedom Radio in Kano, four Nigerians work with them in the Hausa service. They in turn are learning the language of their host.
“We visited Tianjin from Beijing. These cities are beautiful in every sense of the word. A lot of trees, high-rise buildings, parks, museums, and seafood! On the whole, getting to know them is the beginning of more things to come.”
Charles Kalu, a Broadcaster and a member of the NGE: “For me, all the impression about China being a country where only “fake” things come from is all about perception. And possibly lack of knowledge about the great strides of the Chinese people and a deliberate policy towards self-sufficiency. China has left the rest of the so-called Third World countries and its developing in leaps and bounds.
“During this trip, I saw a country whose leaders had seen tomorrow and decided to put in place structures to achieve it. Young people are strategically placed to develop and deploy technology to complement their growth and for the good of millions of its people. As a matter of fact, the THT Industrial Development Park at Tianjin is involved in a research to develop Electric Vehicles just as the West is doing.
“Can you imagine that out of six factories manufacturing LED technology; four are in China while the remaining two located in South Korea are also owned by the Chinese company located at Tianjin industrial park? The Media Sector is not left out in the technology drive. The media both Electronic and Print and indeed On-line in China have converged and integrated into a single HUB with a state-of-the-art infrastructure to support the move.
“The country also has an integrated transportation system incorporating both bicycles, taxis, electric driven buses, underground mass transit trains as well as speed trains…moving millions of people daily. It is worthy to note that China has not left out its history, culture, arts and the environment in the planning of its smart cities. China is involved in all spheres of human life with awards and laurels to show for it.
Next time you see a Chinese person look beyond seeing “Chinco” but a person striving to make the world a better place.”
For a better society