al jazeera

Al-Jazeera said it “has had to close” its English-language bureau in Beijing since Chinese authorities refused to renew the visa and press credentials of correspondent Melissa Chan. The expulsion does not affect the network’s Arabic-language bureau.

Qatar’s soft power is exercised through its satellite TV station Al-Jazeera. And while some in Washington may object to its editorial slant, there is no denying that this Qatar-owned satellite TV station is equally responsible for the blossoming of the Arab Spring by bringing uncensored news to millions within the Arab world.

China put a key element of its global soft-power push into play this week with the official launch of state broadcaster CCTV’s American service. The service will eventually offer four hours of programming a day, produced by roughly 100 journalists in 15 bureaus spread throughout the Americas...

In charting its growth, CCTV is closely studying other models, especially al-Jazeera. But while al-Jazeera's access and deep knowledge of the Middle East — and a hands-off approach by its masters — have been its greatest assets, state-run CCTV's emphatic allegiance to the authoritarian communist state and the party seem to be its biggest liability.

January 18, 2012

...Hu told the 17th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party that China needed to invest more in its soft power resources. Accordingly, China is spending billions of dollars on a charm offensive. The Chinese style emphasises high-profile gestures, such as rebuilding the Cambodian Parliament or Mozambique's foreign affairs ministry.

Al Jazeera's English-language news channel reaches an estimated 220 million households worldwide. Currently celebrating its fifth anniversary, even its fiercest critics have come to acknowledge both its increasing global impact and, more recently, its indispensable role in covering the wave of revolutionary ferment sweeping the Middle East.

Indeed, the elections that took place in Egypt and Tunisia have demonstrated that the young, multilingual and Internet-savvy spokesmen for the revolution who had become prominent on Al Jazeera and CNN television coverage from Tahrir Square lack any strong base of electoral support.