ChinaAugust 22 2022, 14:15 pm

With a Surge in Overseas Media Outlets, China is Winning  the Global Information War Online and Offline

UK  media is report­ing that as the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Par­ty funds a surge in over­seas media out­lets, Chi­na is increas­ing­ly win­ning the glob­al infor­ma­tion war. Accord­ing to an inews report,  Chi­nese state-linked media out­lets such as CGTN and Xin­hua reach hun­dreds of mil­lions of fol­low­ers on West­ern social media plat­forms, out per­form­ing West­ern rivals such as BBC or CNN:

July 31, 2022 While West­ern news out­lets have endured years of eco­nom­ic head­winds and cuts to resources, Chi­nese state jour­nal­ism has been swim­ming in yuan since a glob­al media expan­sion fund worth £5.4bn was cre­at­ed in 2009. Cash from Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Par­ty cof­fers has fund­ed a surge in over­seas tele­vi­sion and radio chan­nels, for­eign bureaux and cor­re­spon­dents. Chi­nese-state media, reflect­ing Beijing’s dri­ve for greater glob­al influ­ence, has signed part­ner­ships with local out­lets, from Italy’s pub­lic broad­cast­er RAI to media in Kenya and the Philip­pines. News from Chi­na Radio Inter­na­tion­al or Chi­nese state news agency Xin­hua is reg­u­lar­ly trans­lat­ed and fed into local news bul­letins.  In this way, Chi­na puts pos­i­tive spin on projects like its Belt and Road glob­al trade ini­tia­tive and pro­motes a pro-Russ­ian nar­ra­tive on the war in Ukraine. Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping has told state broad­cast­er CGTN, which oper­ates in 170 coun­tries, to “tell China’s sto­ry well” and “spread China’s voice”. […] Today, CGTN has 118 mil­lion Face­book fol­low­ers out­side the People’s Repub­lic. By com­par­i­son, the BBC has 58 mil­lion and CNN 39 mil­lion. Xin­hua, which oper­ates some 200 bureaux inter­na­tion­al­ly, has 93 mil­lion while state-fund­ed news­pa­per Chi­na Dai­ly, which pub­lish­es 16 edi­tions on four con­ti­nents, has 105 million.

Read the rest here.

The inews report cites a sur­vey by the Inter­na­tion­al Fed­er­a­tion of Jour­nal­ists in 58 coun­tries, which found that 44 per­cent of respon­dents (and 75 per­cent from Africa) had a favor­able view of Chi­nese invest­ment in local media.

The Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) has pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed that Beijing’s strat­e­gy to cul­ti­vate a pos­i­tive image of Chi­na has pri­mar­i­ly suc­ceed­ed in devel­op­ing mar­kets and that its influ­ence efforts have had clear impacts in terms of erod­ing demo­c­ra­t­ic insti­tu­tions and bol­ster­ing author­i­tar­i­an­ism. We have also cov­ered var­i­ous meth­ods the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment uses to influ­ence opin­ions and shape per­cep­tions world­wide, including:

  • How its domes­tic and inter­na­tion­al dis­in­for­ma­tion oper­a­tions have start­ed to merge and how the coun­try taps pri­vate busi­ness­es or media com­pa­nies to car­ry out influ­ence operations.
  • How it employs an exten­sive net­work of more than 20 mil­lion inter­net trolls to ampli­fy con­tent favor­able to the Chi­nese government.
  • How it uses fake accounts to manip­u­late social media platforms.
  • How it has flood­ed YouTube with pro­pa­gan­da videos.
  • How it is cul­ti­vat­ing for­eign influ­encers or local­iz­ing Chi­nese propaganda.

The Chi­na Glob­al Tele­vi­sion Net­work (CGTN) is an inter­na­tion­al news chan­nel con­trolled by the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Par­ty and claims to reach 1.2 bil­lion peo­ple world­wide, includ­ing 30 mil­lion house­holds in the US. A 2021 NATO study has iden­ti­fied CGTN as one of China’s main proxy non-state influ­ence actors abroad and con­clud­ed it could be con­sid­ered part of the more wide-reach­ing unit­ed front net­work. In Feb­ru­ary 2021, the UK revoked the TV license for CGTN over its ties to the Com­mu­nist Party.



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