According to a report in the South China Morning Post, China is planning to merge its state television and radio networks into one mega broadcaster in an overhaul that, the report says, is designed to tighten the Communist Party’s grip on public opinion and burnish the country’s global image.
China Central Television (CCTV), China National Radio (CNR) and China Radio International (CRI) will be consolidated into a new broadcaster that is to be called Voice of China – a name that is reminiscent of international broadcasters at the height of the Cold War.
“Our senior editors are convening meetings to convey the news this afternoon,” said a source who talked to SCMP and who requested anonymity. Another source at CCTV also confirmed the merger to the newspaper.
A document introducing the changes began circulating on social media on Tuesday. It says the consolidated group will sit directly under the State Council, China’s cabinet, and will be led by the party’s Central Publicity Department.
It also outlines changes to the propaganda unit and the Central Organisation Department – two already powerful agencies that will have even more heft after the revamp.
The propaganda department will absorb the country’s top media watchdog – the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television – taking over its regulatory power on news, publications and film.
According to the document, Voice of China’s main duties will be to “promote the party’s theories, principles and policies”, “coordinate and organise major propaganda coverage”, “strengthen the ability to shape public opinion”, “improve its global communication capabilities”, and “tell the China story well”.
Under President Xi (seen above visiting CCTV headquarters), Beijing has also grown increasingly eager to be heard in a world it sees as dominated by Western narratives that are unfair and biased against China.
CCTV rebranded its international English-language news channel as CGTN in a move some observers say is to distance itself from Chinese state media.