US to launch new media network to provide Chinese diaspora with ‘alternative’ news – report
The US-funded broadcasters Voice of America and Radio Free Asia are about to join forces to establish a new media structure, tasked with providing Chinese citizens with an ‘alternative’ to their own state media, a report claims.
Against the background of a seemingly never-ending US-China trade war, Washington has, apparently, decided to reach out to some ordinary Chinese people and to provide them with no less than a brand new “alternative” to their domestic state media, which, it says, only promote Beijing’s “narratives, values and misinformation.”
At least that’s what a report in the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post (SCMP) claims. The report suggests that Voice of America and Radio Free Asia plan to work together to create a totally new “digital brand” operating 24/7 in Mandarin on social media, on the internet and through various other broadcasting platforms.
The new network is reportedly expected to focus particularly on Chinese youth, both in China and beyond. The news comes as the US Agency for Global Media – a newly founded governmental entity tasked with coordinating the work of all of the US’ state-funded media – proudly reported about the growing demand for that sort of content in China, saying that the number of people tuning in weekly to VOA and RFA rose by more than six percent in total in 2018.
It is, however, unclear how exactly a network, which will reportedly be called ‘Global Mandarin,’ would be different from the existing US state-funded Mandarin-language broadcasters. Neither is it clear how many personnel would be involved in its operations and how exactly it is going to promote “freedom and democracy.”
In any event, this new “alternative” media source, which would be no doubt tasked with “advancing the goals of US foreign policy” just like Radio Free Asia or Radio Free Europe, would need to get through China’s firewall first.
The SCMP report suggests the budget of the proposed new network could be between $5 million and $10 million for the first year – a meager sum. Compared with the $43 million Radio Free Asia had at its disposal in 2018, for example.The network’s supposed future name does not make the situation any easier as well as it –alongside with a relevant internet domain – is currently taken by an online school of Chinese language.
It is not the first Washington’s attempt to conquer the minds of its geopolitical adversaries, though. Two years ago, Voice of America together with another government-funded media outlet – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty launched a 24/7 Russian-language news channel broadcasting from the Czech Republic with a very similar stated goal of providing “an alternative to disinformation” in Russia and neighboring countries.