Africanews, the first pan-African multilingual news channel, will be born in 18 months time from now (summer 2015) in Congo-Brazzaville, fathered by Euronews in collaboration of this country’s national TV station, Euronews announced on Monday evening from Lyon, France.
The multicultural news channel, which will broadcast around the clock, is said to be the first of its kind on the African continent.
Starting with English and French, and then adding other languages widely-spoken on the continent, the channel will be headquartered in the capital Brazzaville, with regional offices to be set up later across the continent.
“Africanews will adhere to the same editorial charter as Euronews, guaranteeing its independence, and the two networks will share their news, creating a synergy that will give Africa its rightful place in the world of news and give the world the latest news from the continent,” the European broadcaster said in a statement.
The cost of setting a project of such magnitude has not been revealed by Euronews and its partner Télé-Congo.
On Saturday 25 January in Brazzaville, Euronews CEO Michael Peters and Télé Congo MD Jean Obambi signed a cooperation agreement for the launch of Africanews, the statement said, adding that the partnership was formalised under the auspices of President Denis Sassou Nguesso.
However, it remains a mystery why Euronews chose Brazzaville as Africanews headquarters, ahead of ‘liberal’ and ‘media-friendly’ cities such as Dakar, Abidjan and Johannesburg.
Many analysts believe that oil-rich Congo-Brazaville, run with iron-fist by Nguesso for over 20 years, is not a media-friendly country. Any form of criticism of the president and his allegedly corrupt government is dealt with harshly, and the national broadcaster is strictly controlled by the ruling party, which feeds it with a huge dose of propaganda every day.
Many critical journalists have fled the country, while some died in mysterious circumstances in this impoverished Central African nation of 4.5 million people.
Euronews, Europe’s top news channel in Europe, produces 13 different language versions 24/7. Its programmes are created by a newsroom of more than 400 journalists of 30 nationalities, and reach 400 million households in 155 countries.
But, will Africanews tell it as it is, and fearlessly reveal thorougly that the country’s president is a dictator and power-monger who is being investigated by the French justice system for corruption and economic mismanagement?
History has it on record that any media venture that is born in partnership with an African government is bound to remain ‘friendly’ towards that government, or ‘face the music’.
To be continued… Watch this space!