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Embrace solutions journalism, Chinese communication expert charges African journalists.

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Prof. Zhang Yanqiu of the Communication University of China (CUC), Beijing, has charged African journalists to discontinue the excessive negative reportage about their countries.

Yanqiu, who is also the Director of Africa Communication Research Center at CUC, gave the charge in an interview with a Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Thursday on the sidelines of the ongoing 14-day seminar in Beijing.

She said: “Every news reportage goes a long way to shaping ideologies, mindset and belief systems of those outside who read it, watch it and even listen to it.

“Under the liberal media system, it seems that the media plays a major role in watching the government.

“When they watch the government, they tend to report a lot of negative stories to try to find the problems and the troubles of the government.

“So, when the media keeps projecting the nation as a place of negativity with no positivity and advantages, it drives potential investors, tourists and even migrants who want to live there away.

“In order to boost the growth and development of Nigeria and African countries at large, excessive negative news reportage must be put to an end.”

For developing countries like Nigeria. Yanqiu said that it was time for the media to start promoting the country’s image via positive reportage and well as consider solutions through journalism or constructive journalism.

“This means journalists not only find the problems, find the troubles, but also try to have the media be a facilitator or the mediator to find out how the country can solve the problem.

“We are not saying Journalists should sweep the problems under the rug or not to criticise but everything should be done within boundaries with the aim of proffering solutions.

“So let the media as mediators invite different sectors or people concerned to talk about the issue and to find solutions to the identified problems.

“So, this is something I think the media should consider as the new concept,” she said.

A participant, Mr Yahaya Samuel, media supervisor at Jeffwood investment from Nigeria, lauded the Chinese government’s kind gesture and the opportunity to see China beyond the news.

He added that Nigeria was working towards discouraging negative news reportage but instead, striving to put in more deliberate efforts to project Nigeria and Africa at large in a positive light.

 

“We now have more understanding that the way our local media portray the country often contributes to shaping how the country and its citizens are perceived by the international community, including foreign investors,” Samuel said.

Foreign

3 teens arrested in Germany for allegedly plotting terror attack

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German authorities have arrested three teenagers aged 15 and 16 on suspicion of plotting a deadly Islamist terrorist attack in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, prosecutors said on Friday.

The state’s Central Office for the Prosecution of Terrorism (ZenTer NRW) sought an arrest warrant for the teenagers over the Easter holiday.

They were suspected of plotting a terrorist attack in accordance with the aims and ideology of (extremist militia organisation) Islamic State.

The detained suspects are a 15-year-old girl from Dusseldorf, a 16-year-old girl from the Märkischer Kreis district and a 15-year-old boy from the Soest district, located about 100 kilometres to the east of Dusseldorf.

A fourth suspect has reportedly been identified in the south-western German state of Baden-Württemberg, and the local court there has issued an arrest warrant.

According to the investigators, the teenagers are accused of having agreed to commit murder and manslaughter.

This is in conjunction with the preparation of a serious act of violence endangering the state.

 

The presumption of innocence applied in all stages of the proceedings.

Security sources told newsmen that the young people had formed a chat group, but had not drawn up a concrete attack plan for a particular time and place.

However, sources said the cities of Dortmund, Dusseldorf and Cologne were discussed as targets, and attacks with knives and Molotov cocktails on people in churches or police officers in police stations had been considered.

The sources said authorities had also conducted searches as part of the investigation.

A machete and a dagger were seized in Dusseldorf, but no evidence of the construction of incendiary devices was discovered.

Sources said the father of the Dusseldorf suspect had already attracted attention from authorities in the past because he had allegedly collected donations for the Islamic State.

The investigators declined to reveal how the suspected terrorists were tracked down, but said that foreign intelligence agencies “did not play a role.”

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Putin Registers As Candidate For Russia’s Next Presidential Election

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Russia on Monday officially recognised Vladimir Putin as a candidate for the presidential elections in March, a vote that he is all but certain to win.

The 71-year-old has led Russia since the turn of the century, winning four presidential ballots and briefly serving as prime minister in a system where opposition has become virtually non-existent.

The Central Election Commission said it had registered Putin, who nominated himself, as well as right-wing firebrand and Putin-loyalist Leonid Slutsky as candidates for the vote.

The election will be held over a three-day period from March 15 to 17, a move that Kremlin critics have argued makes guaranteeing transparency more difficult.

 

Following a controversial constitutional reform in 2020, Putin could stay in power until at least 2036.

Rights groups say that previous elections have been marred by irregularities and that independent observers are likely to be barred from monitoring the vote.

While Putin is not expected to face any real competition, liberal challenger Boris Nadezhdin has passed the threshold of signatures to be registered as a candidate.

However, it is still unclear if he will be allowed to run, and the Kremlin has said it does not consider him to be a serious rival.

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