Wednesday, February 18, 2015

CCTV, China’s Propaganda Tool, Finds Itself at Center of Antigraft Drive

Edward Wong of the Times wrote an informative piece on the state of the media in China last week. Wong states that the the Chinese Communist Party leadership has waged a war in an effort to weed out corruption within its own propaganda organization, CCTV, which is also the nations most influential news organization. The party's investigations of the scandal within CCTV, which is "riveting the country with reports involving a seamy mix of celebrities, sex and bribery", follows two main strands that overlap. One aspect of the investigation focuses on the corrupt businesses practices at the financial news division of CCTV where many senior officials have accepted bribes in exchange for positive coverage. The other overlapping aspect of the investigation focuses on intimate and inappropriate relationships between party leaders, news anchors, and network executives at CCTV.

Additionally, Glenn Greenwald wrote a piece on The Intercept regarding the United States drop to 49th in the World Press Freedom Rankings, the lowest ranking since Obama became president, and the second lowest ranking on record (in 2006, under Bush, the U.S. ranked 53rd).

Although these two articles aren't related, I find it peculiar that the Chinese leadership has so openly waged a campaign against its own propaganda machine. Moreover, I find Greenwald's piece on the drop in U.S. press freedom rankings all the more alarming in light of the fact that an authoritarian government is pushing for greater transparency and an end to media corruption.

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