That China is no ally of India, is very clear. We have seen the military aggression of China, such as the Doklam incident. China also adopts a diplomatic stance, which is against India, wherein it is repeatedly vetoing a bid in UN to list Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. In such circumstances, when Chinese propaganda reaches Indian media one needs to be careful.
In the recent past, the Indian Express was caught writing misleading headlines with Chinese propaganda. During the same time, Bhutanese media slammed an Indian publication, The Week, for a biased report helping China. Now, Hindustan Times has become the latest vehicle for Chinese propaganda.
China correspondent & Associate Editor at IndiaToday, Ananth Krishnan, today tweeted out the following:
HT today carries 4 pages of Chinese govt propaganda masquerading as news (a small print disclosure on just the first page doesn’t do much) pic.twitter.com/Siw2iuoV3e
— Ananth Krishnan (@ananthkrishnan) November 3, 2017
And it is true. From page 11, to page 14 of today’s Hindustan Times, a “supplement” featuring China has been published on the Hindustan Times. What is being called a “supplement” is essentially what is known as an “advertorial” in media parlance. An advertorial itself is a bastardised advertisement, posing to be real news. The format and the presentation method of this “supplement” ensures that the reader does not easily realise that it is not real “news”:
The fact that these 4 pages are not news, but are an advertisement for China, is mentioned in just 0.25% of the area dedicated to the advertisement:
From this note, a question may arise: How is Hindustan Times being unethical if it has merely allowed another media publication named “China Daily” to insert 4 pages of its content into the Hindustan Times?
This can be answered by looking into what is this “China Daily”. China Daily, is a state-run media house, said to be owned by the Communist Party of China. According to a publication by a department of the State Commission Office for Public Sector Reform, the newspaper office was escrow to the State Council Information Office of China.
Based on the above, this “supplement prepared by China Daily”, is actually an advertisement for China, masquerading as a news item, planted in an Indian newspaper, by the Chinese Government, by using their state run media.
To be fair to Hindustan Times, advertorials are not very uncommon in the Media space, however ethically dubious they might be. But when it comes to publishing a hostile nation’s state-sponsored propaganda, do the readers of the Hindustan Times deserve more than just a small note covering 0.25% of the space dedicated to the advertorial? As is known, the Chinese media space is sparsely independent with strict government controls, similar to any communist nation. Do the Indian people deserve being fed such hostile nation sponsored propaganda by our own “independent” media?