China’s Global Media and the Commonwealth

China is emerging as an assertive media player in the new world order, which is undermining international peace and security. As part of their BRI strategy, China has been heavily investing in propagating a positive image for itself. For this Beijing is following a multi-pronged, sophisticated and forceful media strategy increasingly aiming at international audiences. This media strategy involves China wanting to reshape the global information environment with massive infusions of money and investing in a “digital silk road”.

Chinese technological penetration of Commonwealth countries and societies has potentially a much more malign influence on democracies and good governance, as social media has been seen to subvert election processes. This goes beyond the close structural links between Chinese IT and the Chinese state, and possible dangers to national security in Commonwealth countries.

The use of AI and advanced surveillance systems, based on Chinese technology, presents authoritarian elites and governments with disturbing possibilities of state surveillance and control. To discuss some very important questions including How far has China’s global media impacted freedom of expression within the Commonwealth countries; how prepared are individual Commonwealth governments to table media responsibility and regulation of the Chinese tech giants, especially on issues on Human Rights?

Speakers included:

  • Professro Daya Thussu
  • Stephen Vines
  • Sally - Ann Wilson

Daya Thussu is Professor of International Communication at School of Communication, Hong Kong Baptist University. In 2018-2019, he was a visiting Distinguished Professor and inaugural Disney Chair in Global Media at Schwarzman College, Tsinghua University, Beijing. For many years he was Professor of International Communication at the University of Westminster in London, where he was also founder and Co-Director of India Media Centre and research advisor to the China Media Centre. Author or editor of 20 books, his latest publication is China's media Go Global? He is the founder and Managing Editor of the Sage journal Global Media and Communication.

Stephen Vines is a Hong Kong based writer and journalist. He has worked in Asia for The Guardian‚ The Daily Telegraph‚ and The Independent‚ and was a consultant editor for The Asia Times. His books include: Hong Kong: China’s New Colony, The Years of Living Dangerously – Asia from Crisis to the New Millennium and Market Panic and Food Gurus.

Sally - Ann Wilson is the CEO of the Public Media Alliance, the largest global association of public service media organisations. Formerly the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association, the PMA counts among its members both Commonwealth and non-Commonwealth broadcasters. The PMA supports and promotes the values of public media and the necessity of press freedom as challenges like media capture, political interference in the media and disinformation grow worldwide. Sally-Ann began her career as a producer/director/executive producer making documentaries for the BBC, Granada and Anglia.

This event has been organised by Professor Philip Murphy (Director, ICwS and History & Policy and Dr Kiran Hassan (Associate Fellow, ICwS).

Author: Institute of Commonwealth Studies

Speaker(s): Professro Daya Thussu, Stephen Vines and Sally - Ann Wilson

Organisations: Institute of Commonwealth Studies

Event date: Friday, 19 November 2021 - 12:00pm