The Mass Media in China

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LS22442 Mass Media Tutorial Weeks 4 and 5

WEEK 4

The Mass Media in China
Read the text (translation) paras. 1-38 for Week 4, before your tutorial; watch the first half of the documentary in class, then answer the questions at end. First anniversary of China’s entry to WTO (2002) RTHK: Impact on the media Ru shi yi zhou nian(入世一周年) HC427.95 .R83 2003 (local tv) Vol.2 RTHK Soundtrack: mainly Cantonese, some Putonghua (with Chinese subtitles), some English

Introduction (Trans. D.B. Hunter)
Recent years have seen rapid development in China’s mass media sector with a progressive shift in balance from government control to commercialization and responsiveness to markets. To cope with market demand and the challenge posed by competition from transnational media conglomerates, from 2001 the Chinese media sector undertook an across-the-board functional separation of government and business and a consolidation of resources. This involved the creation of cross-media television and film conglomerate led by each region’s broadcasting authorities. One example is Hunan province’s Golden Eagle Broadcasting System, the first media company to get a stock market listing. The country’s biggest media group, China Radio-Film-Television Group, was set up in Beijing a year after China’s entry to the World Trade Organization. In the same year foreign investment in China media industries made their way into the country through a variety of channels. One investor was Star Television, a member of the UK’s News Corp group [Richard Murdoch], which secured landing rights in Guangdong province for a 24-hour general entertainment channel in Putonghua. [Broadcast from satellite] Will China’s call to its media sector industries to merge into giant corporations really be enough to ward off the impact of foreign media groups? Will the transformation of the media sector in China accelerate China’s progress towards an even more open society? (RTHK website) Introduction.

"近年, 中國傳媒業發展迅速, 逐步由過去政府控制的局面轉變為產業化和市場化. 為了適應市場變化和面對來自跨國傳媒大集團的競爭, 中國傳媒業從2001年初, 已開始進行全系統的政企職能分開和資源重組改革, 各地由地方廣電局牽頭, 組建跨媒體的影視集團, 如湖南廣播影視集團就是全國第一家上市傳媒, 而全國最大的中國廣播影視集團, 亦於入世後於北京成立, 而入世一年間, 外資亦透過不同的途徑進入內地傳媒業, 如在電視頻道方面, 英國傳媒大亨'新聞集團' [News Corp] 旗下的星空傳媒集團, [Star] 便獲准在廣東地區播放一個24小時普通話綜藝頻道. 中國傳媒是否眞的能正在'做大'的口號下, 足以抵禦外來傳媒集團的衝擊? 抑或中國會因傳媒的變局, 而加速邁向一個更開放的社會呢?"--RTHK網頁.

NB Interviews in italics. Ordinary text is voice-over. Numbers are for easy reference. Part I: electronic media
1. The media are an extremely important tool for rulers in influencing the way people think (their ideology). For this reason the Chinese authorities have always tightly controlled the media. 2. But a year after entering the WTO, the Chinese media have been undergoing enormous changes under the impact of foreign media investment in China. 3. After China became a member of the WTO, the Chinese mediascape has faced a transformation.

4. I personally think this is a good thing and it is not simply a quantitative change .

5. After 16 years, the global media conglomerates have finally broken into the Chinese market

6. I think the success is definitely related to a mutual trust between News Corporation and Star [Xing Kong Weishi] and also the Chinese government .

7. Since China’s entry to the WTO, the opening up of the media industry has been marked by extreme caution. Investment has been restricted to exchanges of programmes or to joint venture operations. But once there is an opening, foreign investment sees an opportunity. For example in March last year (2002), Xing Kong Weishi [Star] was given permission to operate in the Guangdong region. This is the first time a foreign cable network channel has been allowed territorial rights in China.

8. I definitely think it's a breakthrough. What we are trying to do is create a channel that is truly like you’ve never seen in China before. And with the programming on Xing Kong Wei Shi we’ve tried take maybe international formats or ideas,...
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