Narratives of Contemporary Africa on China Global Television Network’s Documentary Series Faces of Africa
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This paper examines the documentary series Faces of Africa, broadcast on CGTN Africa, the African branch of China Global Television Network (CGTN, formerly known as CCTV International) since 2012. Using in-depth interviews and content analysis, we canvas the layers of supervision, censorship, agency and cross-cultural collaboration that lead to a creative dialogue between filmmakers and Chinese commissioning producers. We argue that, compared to news programs on both CGTN and other global networks, the documentary series allows a more positive and humane portrayal of African people. However, given that CGTN often engages non-Chinese filmmakers and seeks to emulate global production values to attract non-Chinese viewers, the extent to which CGTN’s documentaries on Africa contrast to those of other global networks remains a question for further debate.
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