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China is launching a 24-hr TV news station…

May 21, 2009

modeled on Al-Jazeera.

China Central Television, or CCTV, and Xinhua news agency will produce content in different languages for both Western and Asian audiences. CCTV, which is preparing to move into a new $700 million headquarters in downtown Beijing, has already opened French and Spanish channels and will soon broadcast in Russian and Arabic. Xinhua will reportedly launch a 24-hour English-language news station modeled on Qatar’s Al Jazeera that will broadcast news and features from China and compete with CNN and BBC. It will expand its overseas bureaus from 100 to 186. On the print side, China Daily, the state-owned English newspaper, recently opened a Washington bureau and launched a U.S. edition. In April, the Communist Party’s mouthpiece, People’s Daily, launched China’s second major English daily, Global Times.

Still, government mouthpieces or stations with a dedicated pro-government point of view (say, al-Hurrah, or the Iranian government’s news channel, “Press TV”) don’t tend to bring in the audiences and advertising revenue…so, unless Xinhua puts some pretty girls in short skirts on the evening news (mimicking Silvio Berlusconi’s wildly successful tactic in Italy) , the PRC’s mouthpiece might find it difficult to find a dedicated global following.

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