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With so many of America’s newspapers and broadcast empires closing news bureaus, cutting coverage, firing reporters, and even going out of business entirely, it’s good to hear that there are a few journalistic enterprises that are investing in more reporters, news facilities, and greater outreach to the news-hungry public.
Unfortunately, these enterprises are not American. They are Chinese.
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In a concerted push, the biggest, state-controlled media outlets in China are allocating billions of dollars to expand their reach overseas. They’re buying international broadcast equipment, opening more foreign bureaus, hiring international media specialists, and providing more extensive coverage in English and other languages.
For example, China Central Television, known as CCTV, already broadcasts in English, Spanish, and French and has opened a new state-of-the-art broadcast facility in Beijing. Also Xinhua, China’s state-run news agency, is getting a license for a 24-hour news channel that, like CNN and Al Jazeera, will have correspondents stationed around the globe and will broadcast in English, including in the U.S. and Europe.
Chinese leaders say they have grown increasingly frustrated by what they see as biased, distorted and negative coverage of China by Western media. So, they intend to deliver their own coverage.
China’s propaganda director calls this effort “an urgent strategic task.” He says that china will make its communication capability match international status. He then added this thought: “In this modern era who gains the advanced communication skills, the powerful communication capability, and whose culture and value is more widely spread is able to more effectively influence the world.”
He is, of course, right about that. So, how is it in America’s national interest for our media barons to be cutting back, while others are expanding?
“News Media Run by China Look Abroad for Growth,” New York Times, January 15, 2009