New Research: China's Efforts to Shape the Information Environment in the Mekong Region
The Chinese Party-State is engaged in a campaign to shape what global audiences read, hear, and watch about China. In doing so, Beijing uses every tool available in the media and information landscape including digital, print, and broadcast media; social media; entertainment; and information and telecommunications technology.
A new series of reports by CNA explores these efforts in the Mekong region. The series includes five reports that detail how Beijing’s campaign plays out in each Mekong country. A sixth report offers broad observations about the PRC efforts to shape the information environment across the region.
"We found evidence that China is indeed actively trying to shape the information environment throughout the Mekong Region," said report co-authors Heidi Holz and Ryan Loomis. "We identified a broad range of tactics, tools, and techniques the Chinese Party-State intentionally uses to promote a favorable image of China among audiences in the Mekong region and to discredit Beijing's detractors."
In addition to generally seeking to promote a positive, China-centric narrative in the region, the Party-State has used these tools more recently to portray China as the primary source of assistance fighting COVID-19 and the only “great power” willing and capable of helping the world fight and overcome the virus. The reports conclude with recommendations drawn from discussions with Mekong region media experts and practitioners for how the international community can counter Beijing’s media campaign in the Mekong region, including supporting digital literacy measures and funding media development projects.
The report series as well as other work by CNA on propaganda and disinformation can be found at: https://www.cna.org/centers/cna/cip/information-environment.
CNA is a nonprofit research and analysis organization dedicated to the safety and security of the nation. It operates the Center for Naval Analyses—the federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) of the Department of the Navy—as well as the Institute for Public Research. CNA develops actionable solutions to complex problems of national importance. With nearly 700 scientists, analysts, and professional staff, CNA takes a real-world approach to gathering data. Its unique Field Program places analysts on aircraft carriers and military bases, in squad rooms and crisis centers, working side by side with operators and decision-makers around the world. CNA supports naval operations, fleet readiness, and strategic competition. Its non-defense research portfolio includes criminal justice, homeland security, and data management.
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