The Chinese government owned news agency - Xinhua has started broadcasting events happening in China in the English language. The Chinese government has always claimed that the western media is unfairly prejudicial towards China and only choose to report negative news of the Communist country. With the latest English news channel, China now wants to assert its influence on the international community, claiming that they only want to provide objective news reporting to the English speaking international audience. The spokesperson from Xinhua stressed that the new media platform is not a propaganda machine but rather a news channel that will report Chinese events objectively 24 hours a day.
It is said that Xinhua has been trying to reinvent itself and expanding into different platforms since 2008. One of them was the internet news platform. The Chinese government has poured in millions, if not billions to support such expansion projects. It has witnessed firsthand the power of internet media during the events with Tibet, where the international community scrutinized their every move. So, the launching of the new English news channel is part of the grand scheme of things to come for Xinhua.
It was back in July 2007, the other Chinese state owned media CCTV started broadcasting in Arabic catering to almost a 300 million audience in the Middle Eastern and North African countries. The Arabic channel is now broadcasting to about 22 countries. CCTV is also broadcasting in French and Spanish to cater to the European countries. For that reason, we are likely to see the Chinese state owned news agency rolling out more services in other foreign languages in the near future.
As the Chinese economy grows bigger, the more influence it will gain. The Chinese government now finds itself loaded with money and it is natural for them to be investing in the mass media industry to reach and influence the international community. The international news media has long been dominated by the US and UK, mainly the CNN and BBC. Although China already has one international news channel - Phoenix News, it is limited to Chinese speaking audiences. Therefore, Chinese officials are keen to assert their influence on English speaking audiences.
However, all state owned news agencies come under close scrutiny from Beijing central government. Watchful eyes are also monitoring smaller private news agencies. All of the media platforms in China go through government censorship or self-censorship. Most of the media operators practice self-censorship policy to ensure that they retain their licence to operate in China. It is a dilemma for many foreign news agencies as they struggle to report the truth at the risk of closing down. At the end of the day, reality pushes most to accept the restrictions set down by the Communist government and refrain from reporting certain issues.