China’s Pursuit of a New World Media Order

26 Mar 2019

A 52-page report released by freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) enlists Beijing’s strategies to curb press freedom. Titled ‘China’s Pursuit of a New World Media Order’ it also said how China is using its political influence to export its media model to other countries. China, ranked 176 out of 180 in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), and it is now expanding its "ideologically correct" vocabulary, to deter any criticism of itself and to cover up the darker chapters in its history. 

The report highlights state-owned outlets CGTN, which broadcasts news programmes in 140 countries, and China Radio International, which broadcasts in 65 languages, as evidence of the country’s global media ambitions. It also said that China has heavily invested in African nations in an attempt to expand its media influence; in particular, through Chinese state-controlled programmes such as CGTN Africa which avoids critical coverage of Beijing.
While the Belt and Road Initiative has gained news-worthy eyeballs, the report says its anti press freedom project is just as ambitious.

Available in French, English and Chinese versions on rsf.org, the report says that Beijing uses propaganda advertorials in foreign publications including the Wall Street Journal and the Daily Telegraph.China Watch, an English-language state-sponsored insert, has reportedly been inserted into 30 major daily newspapers with a circulation of 13 million copies – 1.7 million of whom are in the New York Times and 6.6 million in Mainichi Shimbun.

Other methods of influence outlined by RSF include the country’s heavy investment in foreign media such as spending 3.3 billion Euros in acquiring shares across various European media outlets and controlling a radio station popular in Southern California.

The watchdog's report said the Chinese campaign "poses a direct threat not only to the media but also to democracies." Beijing dismissed the report as "totally not in conformity with the facts, and not worth refuting," with foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang accusing RSF of "prejudice" against China.

Explore the issues

Several international instruments guarantee the right to freedom of expression. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms that this right includes the freedom to hold opinion without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas. The Internet, with the opportunity it offers people to express themselves, is seen as an enabler of the exercise of this particular human right. Although these freedoms are guaranteed in global instruments and in national constitutions, in some countries freedom of expression is often curtailed through online censorship or filtering mechanisms, imposed by states, often for political reasons.

 

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