Anti-CCTV: Keeping an Eye on the State Broadcaster
China Central Television (CCTV), China’s most powerful state television station, has recently become a target of China’s many online communities. Amidst the fray, one site was brought to our attention: Anti-CCTV. Launched as early as mid-April last year, and though not very frequently updated, the site has attracted more than 178,000 visits since then, according to AFP via the Straits Times. The site was first established in response to Anti-CNN, a once very popular site that reflected Chinese netizens’ nationalistic responses to the Lhasa violence last March. Interestingly enough, Anti-CCTV takes the same form as Anti-CNN and even uses the same style of language. However, the two sites represent rather two opposite positions in China’s political space.
Translated from the blog of Anti-CCTV’s founder, Julian.
The theme of anti-cctv.net, as its name implies, is to “anti” the central television station. To borrow a sentence from www.anti-cnn.com ‘s front page, “We Don’t Oppose Media Itself; We Only Oppose Media’s Untruthful Report.” The theme of anti-cctv.net is the same. I guess that the principle of opposing the media’s untruthful reports should not be differentiated on national or regional bases. Should it?
Meanwhile, this site’s main content is also not focused on domestic or international reports about Tibet but gathers some of CCTV’s “untruthful” or even faked reports.
For instance, the slogan “做人不能太CCTV (Don’t Be Too CCTV),” was used earlier than “做人不能太CNN (Don’t Be Too CNN).” Through searching “做人不能太CCTV了” this slogan online, we can find one of CCTV’s most famous faked news events. Let me quote an explanation of it from Baidu Zhidao (Note: Baidu Zhidao is one of Baidu’s functions, similar to Yahoo! Answers):
CCTV: The term originally refers to China Central Television. Its meaning has been extended as a verb describing the action of violating other people’s rights by using illegitimate methods (especially in voting or elections); it can also be used as an adjective to express “despicable and shameless,” which has its basis in CCTV’s cheating scandal against Sky (a Chinese E-sport player) in its online voting of “2006 Top Ten Influential Sports Figures.”
[...] Of course, precisely speaking, I intend to make a comparison with anti-cnn.com. Regarding CNN’s misleading pictures and reports, I have nothing much to say. I support the 21-year-old (Rao Jin) who made this website. [Note: Rao Jin was not 21 at the time of this post.] I also think that there is no reason or organization that can stop them from using their website as a foothold to express their voices and get people’s feedback.
However, in a society with free expression, it should not only be allowed to criticize foreign media but domestic media, as well. Apparently, criticizing CNN is much easier than criticizing CCTV. (I have to say that “trick” is the word I am thinking of in my mind.) It is just like the fact that you frequently hear about the popular movements to defend Diaoyu Islands, but rarely hear about any movements to protect the Stanovoy Range.
In China’s Foreign Ministry’s March 27  press release, the spokesman Qin Gang addressed a journalist who asked “You may be aware that there’s now a non-governmental website,ANTI-CNN.COM, where people criticize the untrue reports on the Tibet issue by some foreign news agencies like CNN. Do you appreciate or support this website? Is the Chinese Government providing financial or physical support to this website?” Qin’s response was “[…] you won’t ask that if you take a look at the reports by the western media. It is these irresponsible and unethical reports that infuriated our people to the point where they voluntarily chose to voice their condemnation and criticism. […]” [Note: previously translated by CDT]
Qin Gang’s response is very mannered and moderate. I hope that based on the same reason, the website that I, an ordinary person, established to express my condemnation and criticism of CCTV’s irresponsible and unethical reports will also not get interfered with by certain departments and people — this is only really fair and reasonable. I hope Chinese people can also show some support for it.
Only with both Anti-CNN and Anti-CCTV can we be considered as having a complete picture of the news. If Anti-CCTV will be able to get as little interference as Anti-CNN has gotten, then anti-cctv.net will be just a reasonable complement to the anti-cnn website and also a perfect footnote to Qin Gang’s speech.
Despite my original intention to “express voluntarily my condemnation and criticism” of CCTV’s “relevant irresponsible and unethical reports,” I have another means, that is to make a sample comparison test, to see whether the anti-cnn.com and anti-cctv.net websites will get the same result. I hope that anti-cctv.net will also be able to freely expose CCTV’s faked reports without interference. I hope to verify that the sentence “We Don’t Oppose Media Itself; We Only Oppose Media’s Untruthful Report” is commonly applicable.
As Julian mentioned in the end, his site successfully got the ICP license from the state’s Ministry of Information Technology. 扬子晚报 Yangzi Evening, a Jiangsu state media production, has also recently given a positive report of the site. The case may suggest to us that Chinese netizens’ voices can be distinct from the dominant voices in society.