television diplomacy

Beijing’s image is complicated at best in Africa, where it is building major infrastructure projects and boosting local economies, but is also accused of overlooking human rights abuses in its quest for natural resources. China’s foreign investments are a dynamic source of support to America’s economy, but the massive U.S.-China trade deficit is a point of tension.

China has launched a multi-million pound effort to improve its image around the world with the launch of a new global news TV station that it hopes will one day compete with global names such as the BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera. The new station 'CCTV America', has hired more than 60 international staff in a bid to produce credible programmes that will aim to give a voice to Beijing's view of the world.

Turkish television series have long been popular in the Middle East...they are one reason why Turkey topped a recent poll of most admired nations in the region. In the survey...78 per cent of those polled in 16 countries the Middle East had a very or somewhat favourable opinion of Turkey.

Beijing isn't satisfied simply with controlling domestic TV news and the Internet. It wants to control the Chinese cultural diet. And the appetite goes outside China's borders, as well. Beijing wants more "soft power."

Greek TV channels realised that buying the glitzy tales of forbidden love... from long-standing regional rival Turkey, was cheaper than filming their own..."Greeks feel closer to Turks than they did," he told Reuters. "Sometimes soft power is more important than political power."

Senior party members agreed at their annual meeting in October to boost the nation's cultural soft power, a move analysts said was partly to ensure the media galvanised patriotic sentiment ahead of a leadership transition in 2012.

The Australia Network has been our venture into this way of building national ''soft power'' - in other words, winning friends and understanding overseas through television news and entertainment. It had an uncertain start as an ABC offshoot with some additional funding from advertising.

December 2, 2011

Some U.S. democracy activists and government officials claim that the advent of new information technology and social networks can bring democracy to places like Russia, Central Asia or the Middle East. They talk in terms of the “TV Party”...