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Channels TV, Deutsche Welle partner for better, balanced reporting on Africa

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Director, International Relations, Deutsche Welle, Klaus Bergmann,(left);General Manager Operation,Channels Television, Kayode Akintemi, Director General, Deutsche Welle, Peter Limbourg, Chairman, Channels Television, John Momoh , his wife Sola and Consul General, Federal Republic of Germany, Michael Derus during the Channels Television with Deutsche Welle partnership media briefing in Lagos at the weekend.                   PHOTO:OSENI YUSUF.

Director, International Relations, Deutsche Welle, Klaus Bergmann,(left);General Manager Operation,Channels Television, Kayode Akintemi, Director General, Deutsche Welle, Peter Limbourg, Chairman, Channels Television, John Momoh , his wife Sola and Consul General, Federal Republic of Germany, Michael Derus during the Channels Television with Deutsche Welle partnership media briefing in Lagos at the weekend. PHOTO:OSENI YUSUF.

THE Director General of Germany’s public broadcasting station Deutsche Welle, Mr. Peter Limbourg, last week said that his station’s strategic partnership with Lagos-based broadcasting station Channels Television is principally aimed at bringing a new picture for Africa to the world.

On his part, Chairman of Channels TV, Mr. John Momoh, maintained that the partnership, from his end, would be about telling African stories by Africans from the African perspective to the wider world in order for it to better understand Nigeria and the continent.

An elated Momoh said at the ceremony, “It is a great day for us and it is a good beginning for us.”

The two bosses spoke at a press conference held at Channels TV head office to unveil the partnership.

Limbourg stated that the relationship was not just reporting the negatives but also the positives. For him and his organisation, he said it was a perfect partnership considering the great work Channels TV is doing journalistically. This, he said, was why the partnership is about working together for concrete projects, daily feeding each other and its viewers, from both ends of the continents, providing journalistic content.

Limbourg said he was not only happy about the partnership but also about visiting Nigeria. According to him, it is an honour to be in Nigeria, which he described as a beautiful country.

He noted, “It is quite important to have a strong partner and Channels TV is a very strong partner; they are really reliable. It is absolutely a recognised station in Nigeria and they are strong in the market and have highly reputable journalists. Take for instance, the last thing they did very well was the last election reports. It is not only me that think like this; a lot of international viewers were really impressed about the standard of journalism here. So I am happy that we have found this partner”.

He said the issues that would be considered would cut across various fields of life from economy to environment and culture.

On whether there would be special interest in reporting issues of insecurity considering that Nigeria is grappling with insurgency, Deutsche Welle boss said it was a topic that they would always have on the agenda.

“But I think it is not only the question of insecurity in the country, which we would like to transport because many would always have a limited picture of the country. There are a lot of other things happening here which are also very important to cover in western media, like the economy, culture, the dynamics of Africa.

“So, I am happy to bring in the whole picture and not just issues of security situation, which obviously we hear everyday and a problem but which are not easy to solve. A lot of countries around the world have security problems and we should not give those terrorists a good day because we really think this is not the only thing happening in the world. There are other things, which are more important.”

Besides generating content for each other’s platforms, Limbourg stated that education is another key area to explore, adding, “We need to learn from each other. I think Channels TV can help us also to understand the demands of the African market better. So we learn from Channels TV and then we can provide education for journalists in this station. So it is a thing of mutual interest”.

Momoh noted that the content would be jointly produced. According to him, the partnership was an interesting relationship. He recounted his first trip to Germany, which was on a training programme at Deutsche Welle. This, he said, brought a lot of memories for him. He, therefore, noted that the relationship was a heart-warming one and that it was cast in stones.

Momoh said his station was already reaping the fruit of the relationship. On the duration of the relationship, Channels TV boss said it was a rolling agreement with no time limit to it, and added that it was an agreement that started on a good note and would continue.

He said, “It looks very good and it will continue; it smells very good”.

On the philosophy that would guide the content from Nigeria and Africa to be pushed out to Europe through Deutsche Welle, Momoh said, “All over the world, you have the good, the bad and the ugly. And you have places in even developed countries, environments that are worse than Ajegunle of Nigeria. We see them sometimes but you do not see them all the time. One of the things that happen around the world is that the big five, the big news agencies, big international television agencies with the wherewithal put out the images and pictures of stories that they like to tell. Channels TV is trying to do that from this part of the world. Let us tell our own stories, the good, the bad and some of the ugly.

“But for every country in the world, it is all about public relations, how you project yourselves. Yes, we have filth on the streets, but we also have Nigerians who are working hard, who are achieving in their various callings around the world and these are the stories that we would like the world to know.

“It is not all about bad news, but that there is a lot of good from this country, this continent. That is the basic objective of Channels TV and that is why we set up, to celebrate ourselves and tell our own stories”.

In terms of the topics to look out for, just like the Deutsche Welle boss said, all areas and issues would be in focus. Momoh said there were no hard and fast rules on what to talk about and the extent the collaboration would go. However, the Deutsche Welle boss harped more on business and environment issues during the briefing.

Momoh in a chat, however, said, “It is a joint agreement; it is just an example of the kind of collaboration and there are no hard and fast rules about what we can talk about. In fact, we can collaborate on anything. Those are just the low hanging fruits that we need to lash on to immediately. In the area of training, we have already started some training; we have sent some people to Germany, who are being trained. And Deutsche Welle is very, very deep in training. The very first time I set out of this country was to Deutsche Welle and it was the first training I received outside the shores of Nigeria and it was on broadcasting.

“So, like I said earlier, it brings back a lot of memories and they are willing to do more and we are also willing to cooperate with them and to do our best”.

On the impact of the agreement, Momoh said, “Take the coverage of the stock exchange, for instance. It does a lot of good for us. We would be having live coverage from Frankfurt and why is it possible because we collaborated. So the impact would be felt by our viewers”.

Also speaking on the partnership was the Consul-General of Germany to Nigeria, Mr. Michael Derus, who said the relationship was about balanced reporting and shoring up better image for Nigeria and helping to understand Nigeria and Africa better.

Head of Programming, Africa, Deutsche Welle, Clau Stacker, said, “The image of dictators, crises and catastrophes isn’t representative of modern Africa”, adding that the reason his organisation was in the partnership was to focus on the young, confident and mobile generation that is shaping a new future.

On hand to witness the ceremony were senior management staff from the two broadcasting stations.


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