Friday, February 26, 2021
Home Media Propaganda War: The undue influence of the Chinese govt over Indian media is a...

Propaganda War: The undue influence of the Chinese govt over Indian media is a matter of deep concern and requires urgent intervention

Indian mainstream media, in recent times, has carried propaganda articles by Chinese mouthpieces to further the Chinese agenda on contentious issues.

The efforts launched by the Chinese government to capture global imagination and shape the narrative about China is an open secret. Towards that end, the Chinese Communist Party has sought to influence individual journalists and media organisations in its bid to alter global perception about China. In recent times, such efforts have only been accelerated.

From 2016 at least, the foreign ministry of China has hosted at least a hundred journalists from leading news networks in Asia and Africa. The journalists have received quite significant allurements such as plush apartments, a monthly stipend worth Rs. 50,000 and free tours twice a month to different Chinese provinces. The journalists also received language classes and degrees in international relations from a Chinese University.

Such journalists cannot undertake individual trips without government supervision and hence, cannot really report independently on the human rights issues in the country. Three Indian news networks which participated in the programme were The Indian Express, Jansatta and the Indo-Asian News Service (IANS).

The objective of the programme was not unknown to anybody. One journalist reportedly said that that if they wanted to complete the programme, then they must write only positive stories about China. Indian Express correspondent Narendra Apurva, a participant in the programme, claimed that he was “never pulled aside or frozen out” while reporting extensively on the Doklam dispute between India and China.

Source: The Straits Times

Apurva further stated, “Each lecture was a serious eye-opener: for instance, the guy who spoke on environment pulled no punches and told us how bad water pollution here is. If we were to come back as correspondents to China, these classes have already given us an edge over anybody who comes in new.”

Indian mainstream media, in recent times, has carried propaganda articles by Chinese mouthpieces to further the Chinese agenda on contentious issues. Hindustan Times, for instance, on its 13th of December, 2019 edition carried two articles by one Yuan Shenggao under the sponsorship of China Watch Daily, a Chinese government mouthpiece. The articles were titled “Decades of progress highlighted” and “Unparalleled change experienced within a space of generation”.

In the first article, the author claimed, “Seventy years of development has made Tibet a place where people can enjoy economic prosperity, social stability, good ecology, ethnic unity and religious freedom, according to a top official of the autonomous region in the southwest of China.” It added, “The Party secretary said the residents in Tibet enjoy freedom of religion and their legal religious activities are protected by the law.”

In the second, it was claimed, “In the seven decades since the founding of the People’s republic of China, the Tibet autonomous region has created history that previous millennia cannot match. There have been many significant events since 1949, including the peaceful liberation, democratic reform, foundation of the autonomous region, reform and opening-up.”

The author added, “Tibetan residents, freed from serfdom seven decades ago and later becoming masters of their own fate, are beneficiaries of and witnesses to the great changes taking place in the plateau region that has been dubbed “the roof of the world.”” Needless to say, this is sheer propaganda.

The Tibetan Policy Institute condemned the Hindustan Times for carrying such propaganda pieces. It said, “Indian newspapers should be careful not to become a mouthpiece of one of the most repressive and aggressive regimes who has kept India on toes through its intermittent border incursions all these years.” One would have expected Indian media to be aware of due to the most basic sense of nationalism but quite clearly, it is much too much to expect such decency from the Indian media.

These are not the only occasions when the Hindustan Times has peddled Chinese propaganda. On the 5th of November, 2019, it published a propaganda article penned by the Chinese Ambassador to India, Sun Weidong. Weidon said in the article, “China appreciates India’s position. It hopes and believes that India, as a responsible major country, will stick to its position, honour its commitments, resist interference on Tibet-related issues and promote the healthy and stable development of China-India relations.”

Months later, China is involved in a very critical border conflict with India in Ladakh. During the conflict, the Press Trust of India (PTI) carried water for the Chinese establishment which earned it a great rebuke from the Indian masses as well as from the government. However, months after Prasar Bharti said that it would be reviewing its relationship with the PTI for peddling Chinese propaganda during times of conflict, there has still not been any constructive action on that front.

It is unclear whether these news networks received any payment from the Chinese regime for running its propaganda on their platform. Only very recently, an Indian journalist, Rajeev Sharma, was arrested by Indian authorities and booked under the Official Secrets Act for stealing state secrets and smuggling sensitive information to the Chinese regime.

It ought to be borne in mind that the Chinese Communist Party has not been targeting only Indian media. It has managed to acquire influence over American media as well. It has been revealed that China Daily, a government mouthpiece, paid over $6 million to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), $4.6 million to the Washington Post, $2,40,000 to Foreign Policy, $50,000 to the New York Times, $34,600 to The Des Moines Register and $76,000 to CQ-Roll Call in the past four years.

The possibility that the Chinese regime adopted a similar approach towards Indian media cannot be negated. In fact, in 2017, Hindustan Times did publish 4 pages of Chinese government propaganda in its ‘supplement’ or as it is known in media parlance, ‘advertorial’, sponsored by China Daily, the same entity that had bought space in the western media outlets. It is not far fetched to assume that such payments would influence the coverage of the newspaper.

We are well aware of the extent of negative press that the current Indian government receives in the Western press, especially the WSJ, WaPo and the NYT. It cannot be said the extent to which Chinese patronage affected their coverage of India. Similarly, the politically partisan coverage of the Indian media is also a matter of a grave concern.

Therefore, there is an urgent need for the ruling dispensation to investigate the extent of the ties between the Chinese regime and Indian mainstream news networks. It does not bode well for Indian national interests if a hostile country wields disproportionate influence over our media. The media controls public discourse. If the Chinese manage to exert influence over significant sections of the media, the consequences could be devastating.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

K Bhattacharjee
Black Coffee Enthusiast. Post Graduate in Psychology. Bengali.

Related Articles

Trending now

Meet British MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi: Khalistani connections, pro-Pakistani stance on Kashmir and vocal during ‘farmer protests’

Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, or Tan Dhesi as he is addressed sometimes, is a Labour MP from Slough in the United Kingdom.

Rahul Gandhi lies about India clearing millions of dollars of Chinese FDI after a 9-month freeze: Here are the exclusive details

Rahul Gandhi shared a report that relied solely on sources, to claim that after a 9 month-long freeze, India had started clearing FDI from China

China forces US diplomats to undergo anal swab tests, Biden administration calls it undignified: Reports

The Chinese authorities later acknowledged carrying out such tests and assured that they would not be using anal swabs on American diplomats to test for COVID-19 in the future.

Watch: BJP Party President JP Nadda gives his own spin to ‘Pawry Ho Rahi Hai’ meme at West Bengal rally

BJP President JP Nadda seems to have put his own spin on the 'Pawri' meme during a rally at West Bengal ahead of 2021 Assembly elections

‘His opinion less than objective and reliable, his conduct questionable’, says UK court about justice Markandey Katju in Nirav Modi extradition order

The UK Court rejected Justice Katju's argument that Nirav Modi will not get fair trial in India, and exposed his hypocrisy

Did the Congress party pay fishermen in Kerala Rs 30,000 to swim with Rahul Gandhi? What we know

CPIM owned Deshabhimani quoeted fishermen claiming Rahul Gandhi swimming in sea in Kerala was a drama staged by paying them

Recently Popular

US President Joe Biden casually drops the N-word during Munich Security Conference, accused of racism on social media

The N-word is considered as one of the hateful words that were first uttered in the 17th century. Its origin can be traced back to the Spanish word 'negro', which is often used by white supremacists to deliberately offend the African-American community.

Did Aamir Khan’s daughter Ira Khan elope with her Hindu servant? Here is the truth

The image that is being used to claim that Iran Khan has 'eloped with her Hindu servant' was originally shared by Nupur Shikare, her fitness trainer. The two were posing on the occasion of Diwali.

Govt removes safety net that allowed platforms like Twitter to not take responsibility for their misuse, officials can be penalised

If social media platforms don’t comply with the provisions of new guidelines, this will attract penal provisions under the IT Act

I worry about Yogendra Yadav’s mental health and his The Print article on the 2021 Bengal elections proves I am not wrong

As BJP rises in Bengal, a panic attack was detailed in The Print, written by our very own Icchadhari protestor, Yogendra Yadav.

‘Hindi filmmakers repeatedly insult Hindu Gods and Goddesses’: Remarks Allahabad HC rejecting bail of Amazon Prime’s Aparna Purohit in Tandav case

Aparna Purohit is accused of hurting religious sentiments through scenes mocking Hindu gods in the web series 'Tandav' on Amazon Prime

Adani Pavilion and Reliance Pavilion at Narendra Modi Stadium: All you want to know about naming stadiums and pavilions

The stadium was named after PM Modi as he was a former president of GCA, and Reliance & Adan won bids to sponsor two pavilions
- Advertisement -


Connect with us