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Competition in the Media: Anglo-American and Chinese Global News

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Media
Wordcount: 3553 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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  1. Introduction

Since before 1900, the Anglo-American had generated their dominant position in the global news scene. Nevertheless, in the twenty-first century, China’s inescapable enlarged their own media market and started to enter the global news market which threatened the Anglo-American’s dominant position. In this article, I am going to enumerate three reasons — the similar scale of the audience; the competing economy growth; as well as the development of technology and infrastructure, to illustrate how Chinese Media is now competing with Anglo-American’s dominant position in leading global news. I will then highlight that due to the different implementation on the media policy principles, for now, Anglo-American continue its influential role in controlling the main flow of global news market.

  1. The Similar Scale of the Audience

Anglo-American is the initial player in modern news production. With the advantages of the global news market, they enjoyed a large scale of readership and viewership across countries because of the use of the English language.

Statistic brought us a brighter image. According to the study conducted by The University of Sheffield, they made up a “list of the majority native English-speaking countries”, which including 18 countries around the world, furthermore the list of countries where using English as their official language is actually even longer than this. Approximately 378 million people’s mother language is English (Ethnologue 2018), and out of the world, 7.5 billion inhabitants plus a 1.5 billion English speaker are using English in part of their life. In addition, “English is by far the most commonly studied foreign language in the world” (Lyons 2017). All these factors improved the direct export of media without any alternation, which efficiently transmits Anglo-American’s news with its original text. “Example includes a Hollywood movie or TV series going to another English-speaking country, there is no need for translation and also no (or minimal) editing” (Tunstall 2010). The essential takeaway here is that “the importing country’s audience sees the same product that the exporting country sees” (Tunstall 2010), which means that an American or British journalist wrote the news and successfully transmit his/her own perspective on the certain issue to other countries and influenced people from outside the nation. Therefore, this is how the Anglo-American dominating the global audiences by using the advantage of the English language in the global news media market.

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There were multiple players in this global media game but only one of those enjoyed a mass audience comparable to the number of Anglo-American news consumers which is China. Although Chinese media have few advantages in using of language, the large population is their huge advantage in competing for the English-speaking world. According to the statistic by Ethnologue in 2018, the most spoken languages worldwide is Chinese. There are nearly 1.3 billion native Chinese speakers around the world which take up around 20% of the world population. “There are an estimated 40 million people studying Chinese as a second language” (York 2008), and after ten years, this number should only increase. Since the great control over media producing and output. Take the advantage of the large population, China is now “combating the mainstream international media and to provide their own version of the China story” (Thussu 2017) through different approaches. In 2017, “Xinhua expanded its international operations; China Radio International (CRI) affiliated with 70 overseas radio stations and 18 global internet radio service and broadcasted in 61 languages; China Global Television News (CGTN) is available in English, French, Spanish, Russian and Arabic” (Thussu 2017). CGTN emphatic on the mission of covering the whole globe by reporting from the Chinese perspective; creating a better understanding of international events; bridging continents and bringing a more balanced view to global news reporting. (CGTN website 2018).

  1. The Competing Economy Growth

The economic growth pushed the development of the media market, and of course, the other way around, the media market also fuels the national economy. To some extent, global media market is encouraged by “the institutions of global capitalism — the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) — as well as those governments, especially that of the United States’ transnational Corporation (TNCs)” (McChesney 2013).

Since the 1960s, Anglo-American’s economy has always stood in the leading position. As a result, they invest in the media industry and globalized by boost and remain the steadfast advocate of the TNCs worldwide. “Media and computer software are the leading exports of the United States, to the tune of $60 billion in 1997” (McChesney 2013). They did not stop their movement and this number has doubled during the 1990s. In 1998, to encourage their commercial development “the U.S. government pressured the WTO to declare the Internet as a ‘duty-free’ area”, in addition, they have further “relaxed its anemic antitrust standards for media mergers and acquisitions, thus permitting them to become a stronger worldwide player” (McChesney 2013). According to the statista’s “Leading media companies in 2017” chart, out of the top 20 media companies around the world, 16 of them are from either the United States or the United Kingdom. Although there are essential domestic companies in the domestic media industry, the global news are mostly Anglo-American’s owned or based firms because of their investment in the global media exportation. Furthermore, this domination also tending to boost the growth of the economy where “U.S. production companies now generate between 50 and 60 percent of their revenues outside the United States” (McChesney 2013). Those media companies (TCNs) goes global because the Anglo-American’s leading position in the global economy and they earned profit from the overseas operation and meanwhile boost the national economy.

The present situation is not that bright for the future economy of Anglo-American’s leadership in the global economy where Britain vote to leave the EU plus the election of Donald Trump as the president of the United States. “Neither country will lead the economic liberalization of their regions or the wider world for the foreseeable future” (Niblett 2016). At the means time, China’s economy has been grown rapidly. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), China became the largest economic system in 2014. And by 2016, “China had become the largest importer for more than 70 countries and accounted for about ten percent of all imports globally” (Thussu 2017). China developed faster than any other countries which “China’s share of global GDP in PPP terms has grown from just over 4 per cent in 1990 to nearly 18 percent in 2016, while that of the G7 countries – the US, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Canada, and Italy – shrank from nearly 51 percent in 1990 to about 31 percent in 2016” (Thussu 2017). According to the World Bank’s data, China’s economy is growing three times the rate of the US at around 7% over the last couple of years (World Bank 2017). China’s media going global is necessitated and highly related to the extraordinary expansion of the economy, and economist had predicted a positive outlook of China increasing media market vitality.

  1. The Development of Technology and Infrastructure

Technology has always intertwined with the development of the media market. Prior to 1965, the news was spread by printing press at a relatively low speed which communication was inside the country boundary. As the development in new digital communications technologies such as “the internet and broadband networks; advanced telecommunications networks; and digital broadcasting” (Goggin and Newell 2003), the news traveled abroad, and its content is also diversified.

Along the history of media development, Anglo-Americans were always leading the technology revolution. In 1920, the first commercial radio stations were established in the United States which marked as the birth of the modern mass media. Within the following decade, Hollywood turned actors into national and international celebrities which were another significant development using technology. By 1990 English engineer and computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee built first web browser which marked as the initial stage of media globalization. After the creation of the internet, together with other modern telecommunications networks, satellites “altered the patterns and even many of the goals of modern society” (Pelton 2015). According to the “Index of Objects Launched into Outer Space” conducted by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), there are “1980 active satellites in orbit and the United States significantly leads the way with 859 satellites” (United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs 2018). One of the reasons that the satellite is essential to the global media infrastructure is because of its convergence of telecommunications, computers and media industries that “satellites now beam down to us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week — a Niagara of information and entertainment accomplished by means of over 12,000 satellite video channels, product not only in Hollywood but Bollywood, India; Cairo, Egypt; and other film produced centers as well” (Pelton 2015). Since the U.S. owns nearly half of the active satellites, they generate great power in spreading their news as well as entertainment.

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While Anglo-Americans developed their satellite technology to spreads their news, China put in place of their information and communication infrastructure in various countries during the past decade. With the support from the Chinese government, “one key component of this is the strengthening of China’s foreign aid programme” (Thussu 2017) which expanded greatly after the “going global” strategy. For instance, one of China’s largest pay-TV companies, StarTimes, “has been operating in Africa since 2002, reaching, in 2016, seven million subscribers in ten countries, including Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya” (Thussu 2017). Meanwhile, part of China’s initiatives is to create information and communication networks. In 2015, China’s National Development and Reform Committee launched the ambitious One Belt, One Road (OBOR) project and predicted that “it will have 900 infrastructure projects, valued at about $1.3 trillion and will form an economic ‘belt’ across the Eurasian continent and a maritime ‘silk road’ through Southeast and South Asia to the Middle East ‘to deepen economic integration and connectivity’” (Thussu 2017). China suggested that OBOR offering the opportunity for countries involved to improve their telecommunication infrastructure using Chinese investment, which emphasized China’s ability and confidence in the development of those infrastructures. Moreover, China’s technology giants “BAT”, which refer to Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent are all dedicated to develop their overseas operation. New media infrastructure is booming in China and now expanding to the rest of the world.

  1. Limitation of China’s Media Going Global

The major reason that blocked China going global is the different implementation of the media policy principles.

In the book Foundations of Communications Policy by Napoli in 2001, he pointed out that media policy had based on several principles, two highlights here are diversity and universal service. In term of diversity, as their cornerstone, it mainly emphasized two perspectives — source, content. It is easy to understand the diversity in the source is having multiple channels to import news that happened in different countries. As for the diversification of content, it does not imply a focus on a board range of sources but generating a great deal of variety within a relatively narrow range of sources through the presentation of differences among them. “Providing media diversity is not a goal in itself but is meant to have a particular effect on the audience” (Helberger 2012). Moreover, universal service is another principle which implies the promotion of the availability of quality services at reasonable rates and the availability of such services to all consumers.

Anglo-Americans’ media have highly focused on these two principles. This development produced professional journalists and technicians focusing on different field which partly due to Anglo-American’s democracies culture that “around 1900, in much of western Europe, and Japan, the press was still only just emerging from the state control; but in both the United States and Britain newspapers experienced very few governmental constraints” (Tunstall 2010). In both the countries, this contributed to a relatively free press regarding the different perspectives on one affair. As for universal service, Anglo-American’s press has also stuck on from the beginning. This principle based on the concept of democratic politics and the equal right to access information, enabling all English-speaking countries to enjoy news services.

When it comes to the media in China, it is easy to find out great regulations and strike censorship from the government. Although China’s constitution provides Chinese citizen with the freedom of speech, “but the opacity of Chinese media regulations allows authorities to crack down on news stories by claiming that they expose state secrets and endanger the country” (Xu and Albert 2017). In 2010, the Chinese government issued a white paper on the internet, focusing on the concept of “internet sovereignty”. It requires all netizens inside China to obey Chinese regulations. Since President Xi came to power, therefore censorship of all forms of media has even tightened. In 2016, Xi announced new media policy that “all the work by the party’s media must reflect the party’s will, safeguard the party’s authority, and safeguard the party’s unity,” emphasizing that state media must align themselves with the “thought, politics, and actions” of the party leadership (the Guardian 2016). With all these law and regulation, the diversity of source and content is restricted. Due to those regulations, China launched the Golden Shield Project which known as the Great Firewall in blocking those speeches that are not allowed to be seen for the Chinese netizens and this action against the principle of universal service which people do not have the equal right to access all information.

  1. Conclusion

Overall, China’s media’s development has threatened Anglo-American’s dominant position of the global news sphere. News media market in China already has the ability to compete with the Anglo-Americans mainstream media dominance, however, the news media in China is still facing some restricted in several aspects. In term of the economy, even though there is an optimistic prediction of the future growth of China’s economy, for now, the GDP per capita of China remaining at a low position compare to Anglo-American countries. “In order to surpass the US’s highly diversified, tertiary economy, China needs to make the transition from a resource-intensive manufacturing hub to a modern, consumer-driven economy” (Willige 2016). Chinese government’s censorship on the press is over strict, and the regulations of control of China’s domestic media market have already resulted in a severe hamper of China’s expansion and development to the global sphere. One of the reasons for launching those restrictions can be the Anglo-American’s domination in the global news: since they have too much freedom in speech, some fallacy news that tries to against the Chinese government was composed. In general, Anglo-American can still domination the global news is no more because of their advantages in using the English language, the strong economic background, and advanced communication technologies, but the restriction that the Chinese government pushed onto the transmission of the Chinese media. Once the Chinese government realized the importance of “the freedom of speech”, the global news media will experience a tremendous reformation.


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