Chinese Digital Satellite TV: Exporting Propaganda to Rural Nigeria

This research brief discusses the African Satellite Digital television project which was officially launched in Nigeria in 2019 by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) highlighting its exportation of propaganda into rural Nigeria. Although government officials in Nigeria have lauded the for its potential to change the fortunes of rural dwellers across the country, there has been no account of beneficiaries' perception of the satellite TV project in Nigeria as well as its implementation across the continent.

The author explores the implementation of the Chinese sponsored project which involved each selected village receiving two StarTimes Projector TVs, one 32-inch Digital TV set, and 20 decoders and satellite dishes. He structured the paper to ask the following questions: Has StarTimes implemented the project as promised? What has been the impact on local villagers’ access to information and views of China? What challenges, if any, has the project encountered in achieving its aims? What role have Nigerian officials played in overseeing or advancing the project?

The brief suggests that beyond the initial footprint of the launch which witnessed lauds, the project had been poorly monitored with major oversights from the government, media, and civil society organisations.

The author argues that despite most of the satellite TVs in public places in these villages having collapsed and very few of these still being in use, the Chinese government has continued to receive commendation and applause for its contribution to a project poorly implemented and hardly sustainable. This continuous applause has further made local audiences in villages across the African continent indebted to the PRC for giving them access to satellite TV which serves the purpose of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) ambition to make gains in people-to-people exchange in Sino-Africa relations.

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