Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sorry BBC: Brazil and China Are Taking Over Global Television

Call it "propaganda", call it "soft power", call it whatever, but Brazil and China have both recently launched state-run, international television stations targeting certain countries and cultures.

International TV Brazil aims to be the hub of Portuguese-language culture worldwide, particularly in Africa. Though Western countries, China, and India all already have footholds on the continent, Brazil has a special connection to the continent that may work in it's favor:
Brazil has the largest black population outside of Africa; nearly fifty percent of Brazilians classify themselves as having some degree of African origin. International TV Brazil is a way for Brasília to bring itself closer to Africa.

The channel is expected to attract large audiences in Portuguese-speaking nations such as Angola, Mozambique, Cabo Verde, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, and Santo Tomé and Principe. 
Brazil has even struck up a partnership with Mozambique to broadcast Brazilian programming to African households for free.
The Brazilian government has signed a contract with Africa-Multichoice, a major African cable provider. The channel will be based in Mozambique's capital, Maputo, and will be available to cable subscribers at no extra cost.
But perhaps there's more to International Brazil TV's aims than spreading culture...could the channel also serve as a counterbalance to powerful Brazilian Globo network?

Lula is highly critical of this station, insisting that it portrays Brazil negatively and inaccurately. More specifically, Lula claims that the administration projected on Globo International isn't representative of the actual government and that International TV Brazil will be the remedy for this malady.
However, despite Lula's claims, the news portrayed by Globo isn't necessarily biased or inaccurate. Globo International is well known and is trusted by viewers everywhere to be fairly accurate and at least highly professional. Globo is also popular around the world for its novelas and enjoys a large market share for their exports, attracting large audiences in places such as South Korea and the Philippines.

Meanwhile, China's CCTV will begin to broadcast Chinese news and cultural programming subtitled in Arabic.

“But in essence this [channel’s purpose] is to voice the Chinese view and our government’s position.  
“We haven’t done enough to air our own voice previously because we were a weak nation. Now we’re stronger. 
“The mainstream media [is] dominated by the western media like the BBC and CNN, and we want to be part of the mainstream voice in international affairs.
Whether or not anyone tunes in is a different question. But it all comes full circle in the end. 
Mr Li admitted CCTV puts more resources into its English-language news channel than its Arabic or other foreign language services, which in future will also include a Portuguese channel.
A Portuguese channel, eh? Wonder who China is trying to target there?

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