China Media Expansion to Follow Al Jazeera Model

While media outlets around the world are cutting back international coverage and staff, China is actually looking to expand its global media empire. According to the New York Times, they are basing their expansion plans on the Al Jazeera model:

The country’s increasingly wealthy media giants, which operate under China’s censorship rules and according to its propaganda motives, are trying to acquire international media assets, to open more overseas news bureaus and to publish and broadcast more broadly in English and other languages. Many of them have already announced plans to hire English-speaking Chinese and foreign media specialists.

The plan, first reported Monday in The South China Morning Post, includes the creation of a 24-hour news channel modeled on Al Jazeera, the Arabic-language news network, with correspondents around the world.

The primary objectives, which are totally contradictory, are to improve China’s image overseas while at the same time creating a respected international news channel. I find it very hard to believe that a country that goes to such great lengths to filter the Web and control media outlets, will ever allow the creation of an independent news room. If the goal is image control, the future news channel will be another Alhurra fiasco, and never an Al Jazeera.

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