Saturday, May 19, 2012

Listening Post on China's "Soft Power"

This first part of this week's episode focused on China: the situation with media freedom in the country and, what the Listening Post called, its "Soft Power" efforts abroad.

China's international broadcaster, CCTV International (or CNTV), has been in the spotlight in the West, and especially in the US, for a couple of years now, just like "Chinese soft power" in general. And, despite all the Chinese efforts, they seem to be having great difficulties in getting to the general American public. The channel is very new, however, launched in the end of 2009, and it still remains to be seen what its impact and/or real popularity can be.

The coverage that it gets in other mainstream media - as reflected in this piece by Al Jazeera English - reminds me of the early coverage of Russia Today back in its early days. There is very little commentary on the actual content or structure of the channel's broadcasts - much less its true public diplomacy potential - with the major focus being the domestic political context of the country that is paying for it. Yet, seems like the political and historical context is key, playing a crucial role in providing the much-needed legitimacy and credibility (or lack thereof) to such outlets. Is there any point in international broadcasting, then...?

Clearly, there is a lot of room for some comparative analysis, here...

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