Hard-pressed Documentary Makers Keep Rolling

An article in USA Today contrasts CCTV’s recent efforts to expand their global propaganda outreach with the work produced by China’s documentary filmmakers, who face political obstacles and censorship while reporting on the underside of Chinese society:

“The authorities believe these films, and the people who make them, are all problematic,” says Zhang Qi, organizer of an independent film festival in a sprawling artists’ village in east Beijing. “Officials fear it’s a big land mine that could explode at any time.”

From running ads in New York City’s Times Square to broadcasting in U.S. cable markets, China spends big money to get its views aired. This week, propaganda-heavy China Central Television (CCTV) launched programming for American viewers produced out of a new office building steps away from the White House.

Among the producers of the English-language news broadcasts will be several U.S. journalists hired from Bloomberg TV, NBC and Fox News in bureaus throughout North and South America. CCTV says its operations in the USA will have autonomy from the People’s Republic of China. At home, the PRC is tightening decades-long controls on the content of movies and TV programs to promote Chinese culture it prefers: safe, socialist and state-run.

Read more about documentaries and about the government’s global media push, via CDT.


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