The killing of a South Korean coast guard officer by a Chinese fisherman should have been a tailor-made story for China’s CCTV News as it em­barks on an ambitious plan to become a global TV network. Instead, said CCTV employees, the story languished for hours as editors awaited political guidance while would-be competito­rs such as Qatar’s Al-Jazeera rep­orted extensively on the attack.
In charting its growth, CCTV is closely studying other models, especially Al-Jazeera, which ro­lled out a global 24-hour news network five years ago and quickly made a name for itself. “This greatly challenges CCTV’s credibility and agenda to influence and channel global public opinion,” said David Bandurski, editor of the China Media Pro­ject website at the University of Hong Kong.
Still, CCTV is gearing up to supersize its global footprint this year in pursuit of swaying a foreign audience to China's views and confronting what Beijing considers the Western media's inate anti-China bias.
The network is opening studios in Washington and Nairobi, Kenya, each employing as many as 200 staffers. Worldwide, it will increase numbers of foreign correspondents from 66 to 80 by the end of 2012. At a time when budgets are tightening in news rooms, China's government appears willing to pour billions of dollars into expanding its international media footprint.