The Chinese government recently launched a cable network for Americans, called “CCTV America.” According to PBS, “The Chinese government looked at the international broadcasters and decided it had to be in that business, too.”
University of California San Diego professor Susan Shirk described it, saying, “The Chinese government thinks that, as a major global player, they should have their own media organizations operating around the world, just as the U.S. does, the Europeans do, the Japanese do, and even the Arab world has.”
CCTV America began last month with three new English-language programs, but detractors are already calling the network’s objectivity into question. Philip Cunningham, who has lived part-time in China for the past three decades and is now a visiting scholar at Cornell University, said, “It looks and smells like state TV. It doesn’t really strike me as being different just because there’s a studio in Washington. I think it’s still propaganda.”
And the president of CCTV is reported to have said last year, “The first social responsibility and professional ethic of media staff should be understanding their role clearly in being a good mouthpiece…Journalists who think of themselves as ‘professionals’ instead of as ‘propaganda workers’ were making a fundamental mistake about identity.”
Others maintain that the network is as objective as any other news organization. The director general of the organization, Ma Jing, said, “We uphold the traditional journalistic values. We consider accuracy, objectivity, truthfulness, and public accountability very important. More important than anything else.”
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