Asia-Pacific

Nov 21, 2012

China and the growing global reach of state-owned media

Chinese state media has begun popping up in places around the world. William Mackenzie, a foreign journalist working for CRI in Beijing, argues the whole murky apparatus is not just Orwellian but unprecedented.

China’s 18th party congress concluded last week. Other than a slightly delayed news conference to announce the new leadership, which spawned the hashtag #whyXiJinpingIsLate, there were few surprises.

One of the more interesting turns in coverage of the Congress was the Andrea Yu affair. Yu has been lambasted by the ABC, the International Herald Tribute, and the Wall Street Journal for softballing questions to officials and party members after it was revealed that her purportedly Australian media company, Global CAMG Media, was actually majority-owned by Chinese state media broadcaster China Radio International (CRI).

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5 comments

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5 thoughts on “China and the growing global reach of state-owned media

  1. craig z

    …and this is what an independent media is for…

  2. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    The point for most concern is that these “foreign” sources are then played back to viewers within China, giving them the impression that the rest of the world agrees with the party, and similarly is not concerned with things like human rights and democracy. The whole murky apparatus is not just eerily Orwellian, it is also quite unprecedented.

    Not quite unprecedented. In fact quite eerily similar to the ‘balanced’, ‘unbiased’ and broad-based media coverage of the ongoing Israel/Palestine genocide. But of course Israel is a democracy and is therefore above reproach.

  3. Adam K

    @Hugh, this isn’t just biased reporting disguised as unbiased, it’s state-owned reporting disguised as independent reporting, and that’s what makes it so sinister. Unless you’re implying that much of the Israel/Palestine coverage is coming from media companies masquerading as independent sources, when in fact they’re majority-owned by the Israeli government, or by Hamas? Because that’s something I haven’t been aware of.

  4. Person Ordinary

    So, China has a state-controlled delusion industry, which is completely understandable given how much it is threatened by even a small breakdown in social cohesion.

    We have a corporate-controlled delusion industry, serving the bankers that manipulate social, political and economic outcomes in their own quest for more absolute power. Most of our citizens still allow themselves, in comfortably-numb ignorance, to think this is working well for us.

    As long as no reader here thinks “ours good, theirs bad” then the value of the message in this article is not wasted …

    The “good” media are represented by non-commercial sources, not beholden to the financiers, and the objective media forms that – without some great attempt at repression – will continue to emerge from the convergence of social media and wiki style public knowledge.

    This is a three cornered contest with only one corner representing collective interest.

  5. craig z

    Independent media is simply good for democracy, but when communist state propaganda intermingles with media within democracy, it certainly calls upon the reader to be critical of the source, a task only few would be up to. The question is: how to identify and tag messages (of any origin, including wasteful commercial ones) that push us or pull us to a ‘preferred’ end.

    The greater concern may be the lack of feedback to Chinese readers/listeners, as noted, whereby favourable stories about the state leave messages like global warming or state sponsored human rights abuses unmentioned, so as William mentioned, there is risk of group cognitive dissonance, or complete removal from reality, and that is a grave concern.

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