Following in the footsteps of other less-than-democratic governments such as those of Iran (“Press TV”), Qatar (“Al Jazeera English”) and Russia (“Russia Today”), China has launched a global, English-language television news network, part of efforts to extend the communist government’s media influence abroad.
Starting Saturday, May 1, the government-controlled China Xinhua News Network Corp. began trial broadcasts of its English TV service 24/7, including news segments, feature stories, weather updates and special bulletins.
The channel is officially set to launch on July 1. It has not yet been announced what countries would receive the channel, but the Chinese are likely to follow Russia Today and Press TV, both of which are fast spreading their broadcasts globally, using cable and satellite providers in Europe and elsewhere.
Chinese authorities have expressed disapproval of much of the international coverage of sensitive subjects in China, such as human rights.
China already broadcasts a 24-hour Arabic language channel airing in 22 Arabic-speaking countries, reaching a total population of nearly 300 million people.
Last year, China launched an English-language daily newspaper, as I reported here.