China: The One Bright Spot in the News Business?

The Chinese government has pledged 45 billion yuan (nearly $6.6 billion) for media that target foreign audiences, "in an aggressive global drive to improve the country's image internationally." The Xinhua News Agency wants to use the funding to "expand its overseas bureaus from about 100 to 186," nearly enough to have a bureau in every country. Xinhua also wants "to create an Asia-based 24-hour television station to broadcast global news to an international audience," following the model of the "Qatar-based Al-Jazeera network." The Global Times, a daily tabloid "known for its nationalistic tone," plans to publish an English language version. Central China Television (CCTV), which already broadcasts in Chinese, English, French and Spanish, plans on adding Arabic and Russian language channels. Journalism school dean Yu Guoming said the new media funding was Chinese officials' reaction to "the embarrassing image revealed in western media" during the Beijing Olympics. China's media expansions "are in sharp contrast to the payroll cuts experienced in the western media in recent years," notes the South China Morning Post.