Chinese Media, Kenyan Lives: An Ethnographic Inquiry Into CCTV Africa’s Head Offices

Image: Flickr, See-ming Lee
Image: Flickr, See-ming Lee

Since the launch of CCTV Africa in 2012, many academics from various disciplines have taken an interest in the role and impact of the Chinese state—run media outlet.

Building on this scholarship, this paper develops a fresh approach to examining Chinese investment in Kenya’s communications sector. Drawing upon ethnographic fieldwork conducted during the summer of 2016, the author examines how Kenyan, Chinese, and other international media professionals navigate the everyday production of media at CCTV Africa’s head offices in Nairobi, Kenya. This working paper provides (1) an overview of existing literature on the topic of CCTV Africa and (2) a portrait of the multifaceted experiences of CCTV Africa staff, including their narratives of joining CCTV, producing news content, navigating relationships with managerial staff, and planning for the future. Ultimately, the author finds that feedback from CCTV Africa’s staff are mixed. While CCTV Africa’s employees are, on average, satisfied with CCTV Africa’s work environment and conditions, problematic areas regarding safety, interpersonal relationships, and training deserve further consideration and investigation.

1 Jan 2017