Chinese Media Scholar Expresses Concern About Foreign Media Outlets Operating in China

June 17, 2005

Coinciding with China's State Administration for Radio, Film, and Television ("SARFT") issuing a Notice last week further restricting foreign participation in China's domestic television and film production, the People's Daily Web site has reprinted an article by Xiong Zhonghui expressing concern about how Chinese media outlets can compete in a global marketplace. Xiong, a media scholar in China, notes that one of the issues facing Chinese news media outlets is the fact that the primary purpose for their existence is to spread Chinese government propaganda:

The first issue is what drives entry [into a market]. While foreign media are entering China with the pursuit of profit as their primary motivation, Chinese [media outlets] are entering foreign [markets] primarily to establish a propaganda presence, and become a state-owned propaganda agency. However, our experience with marketized operations of television stations and our actual strength is still insufficient to become State propaganda organs, and at the very least they are insufficiently specialized.

Xiong's comments echo a policy statement issued by SARFT on February 22, 2005. In that statement, entitled "Radio, Film, and Television Propaganda Priorities for 2005," SARFT outlined the top 10 priorities for China's non-print media outlets for 2005. Item 6 on the list was: "Strengthen the capability and influence of broadcast television and film with respect to propagandizing abroad, and establish a positive perception of China abroad."

More information on how the Chinese government plans to keep its own media market closed while increasing the influence of Chinese propaganda abroad, is available here.