China’s State TV Expanding, but Fetters Remain

AP reports on CCTV’s aspirations of becoming a global broadcasting giant and looks at why the channel is having a hard time matching the success of Al Jazeera, its model:

In charting its growth, CCTV is closely studying other models, especially Al-Jazeera, which rolled out a global English language 24-hour news network five years ago and quickly made a name for itself.

Qatar’s government bankrolled the station as part of its ambitions to parley its massive energy wealth into international influence, much as China is seeking global media stature behooving its booming economy, which now ranks second largest in the world behind the U.S.

But while Al-Jazeera’s access and deep knowledge of the Middle East — and a hands-off approach by its masters — have been its greatest assets, state-run CCTV’s emphatic allegiance to the authoritarian communist state and the party seem to be its biggest liability.

This greatly challenges CCTV’s credibility and agenda to influence and channel global public opinion, said David Bandurski, editor of the China Media Project website at the University of Hong Kong.

Read more about CCTV and about China’s efforts to extend its global media influence, via CDT. In particular, see an essay by an Al Jazeera correspondent in China on his perspective of Chinese official media coverage of the Arab Spring.