This thesis explores the role of CNTV English, the English edition of the first national Internet TV, China Network Television (CNTV), launched by the state-owned national China Central Television in 2009. My interest in this topic was triggered by the ambitions of CNTV English to be an influential platform for a global audience and bring significant impact to the world. My aim in this research was to investigate the roles of CNTV English as a contra-flow and a Chinese state-owned media.
To study CNTV English’s role and purposes in global communication, I utilize Daya Thussu’s typology of media flows, contra-flows and dominant flows. I propose that it is effective to examine how CNTV English functions in everyday practice, in differentiating it from the Chinese edition of CNTV (CNTV Chinese) and from the perceived mainstream Western broadcaster like CNN.com.
I conduct the comparative analyses with emphasis on the editorial policies, target audiences and news frames of CNTV English, CNTV Chinese and CNN.com. The comparisons first explore how the editorial policy, target audience and intended purposes of CNTV English influence its news frames in contrast to CNTV Chinese. Then the focus shifts to how CNTV English frame its news in contrast to CNN.com so as to investigate its role as a contra-flow.
The comparisons show that CNTV English has more freedoms to frame certain news events and decide what to report when compared to CNTV Chinese. However, I also found that the primary goal for CNTV English is to fulfill the external propaganda function and the party’s mouthpiece instead of acting as an influential global media. The roles as a state-owned media and a global media player lead CNTV English to a set of irreconcilable conflicts.
The research conclusion sheds light on rethinking the concept of contra-flows. The dilemma CNTV English encountering handicaps its functioning as a powerful counter-hegemonic media flow.