Beijing influencing media outlets in a bid to create a more positive reputation for China
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has stepped up its efforts
to influence American media, as part of its multi-billion-dollar campaign to shape global opinion toward its favor.
A Sept. 8 report from Freedom House titled "Beijing's Global Media Influence" showed the extent of this campaign. It revealed that the Chinese regime and its proxies were using "more sophisticated, covert and coercive tactics" to propagate pro-Beijing narratives, spread disinformation, and block unfavorable news.
Freedom House President Michael J. Abramowitz said in a press release that Beijing is "doubling down on its campaign to control how it is portrayed in the world and to bend foreign media to its will
." He added that "these efforts seek to silence criticism of the regime and convert independent media into shills for the CCP."
Of the 30 countries examined in the report, China's media influence efforts were found to be "high" or "very high"
in 16 countries. Eighteen countries also faced increased influence efforts from 2019 until 2021. The U.S., U.K. and Taiwan were among the nations with "very high" influence efforts, meaning that the CCP was ramping up its propaganda in these countries.
For instance, Chinese state media have paid reputable U.S. outlets to publish content that portrayed the regime in a positive light. Advertorials from state-run media outlets such as China Daily
have also appeared in Time
, the Los Angeles Times
, USA TODAY
and Foreign Policy
. Filings from the Department of Justice
revealed that China Daily
has paid at least $7 million to various publications to carry their inserts from January 2019 to October 2021. (Related: Voice of the CCP? USA Today takes money from Beijing-linked newspaper to push communist propaganda in America.
Even American radio stations were not exempt. According to the report, there had been two radio stations in Washington and New York City that were paid to broadcast programming from state-run China Radio International
Beijing also utilizing social media to control narrative
Moreover, the report stated that Beijing also continued to leverage social media in a bid to amplify pro-CCP talking points. The Chinese Consulate General in New York was said to have paid social media influencers to promote the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and "any good things in U.S.-China relations."
The CCP has increased its disinformation campaigns on social media platforms around the world since 2019 by using a network of fake accounts to spread false narratives. Over the years, thousands of these fake accounts had been found on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
Many of these accounts had been taken down for manipulating discussion on an array of topics involving China, such as pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, human rights abuses in Xinjiang and U.S. relations with Taiwan.
Moreover, the report also found Chinese-linked disinformation networks wading into U.S. domestic issues, stoking more confusion on hot-button topics such as the government's pandemic response, radical tensions and political divisions over the 2020 presidential elections.
But despite the CCP's gargantuan media influence, most democratic countries are pushing back against this propaganda campaign. This resistance hindered Beijing's attempts to sway public opinion, with sentiment toward China or its government declining in most countries examined.
Freedom House Research Director for China, Hong Kong and Taiwan Sarah Cook – also a co-author of the report – said many democracies are proving far from helpless in the face of Beijing's media influence efforts. She remarked that journalists and civil society groups are creatively doing their part to hinder the CCP's efforts.
"This is a critical moment. Governments and societies worldwide should increase transparency and protections for press freedom and free expression," Cook said. "More democracy, not less, is the answer to Beijing's campaign to control news and information around the world."
Visit CommunistChina.news to know more about how China is trying to control free media worldwide.
Watch the video below to see how the CCP is attempting to propagate pro-Beijing narratives.
This video is from the Chinese taking down EVIL CCP channel on Brighteon.com.
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