Wednesday, April 14, 2010

India, China relations and media coverage: A Public Diplomacy challenge

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Media relations seem to have become crucial in managing Sino-Indian ties. Global Times of China recently focused on the effect of media coverage on Sino-Indian ties. Writing for the publication, Tian Wei, anchor of CCTV’s special coverage of important domestic and international events, said that media in both countries need to be more credible in their coverage of Sino-India relations and not succumb to, “the market and fierce media competition, since pandering to nationalism and popular hysteria is an easy way to drum up sales.” (Since media industry is growing exponentially in India and China)

Wei also highlighted that there was no media coverage in India on the passing away of prominent Chinese scholar Ji Xianlin in Beijing, “best remembered for his achievements on ancient Indian aboriginal languages, primeval Buddhist languages and Sanskrit literature.” Ji Xianlin also translated the epic Ramayana from Sanskrit into Chinese and was a recipient of Padma Bhushan, one of India's top civilian honor.

On 29th March 2010, the newspaper also carried an interview of Dr S. Jaishankar, Indian ambassador to China, on the future prospects of India- China relations. In the course of the interview, the Indian ambassador acknowledged the need to better manage the media by both countries to ensure there is no speculation among people resulting in a trust deficit between the countries. He said that, “it is important to reshape the relationship to push media reporting to a more positive direction.” The ambassador also stressed the need to improve messaging instead of worrying about the actions of the media.

The idea of managing media relations by professional managers is a new concept in China and India’s public diplomacy discourse. It has generally been limited to the mandarins in foreign office of both these countries, though, I must admit, China is a bit ahead on this. However, with the exponential growth of the industry in both these countries and also the boom in uncontrolled media like the internet, the need is felt for professional media managers within the government who can decide on the message, control the message, effectively disseminate, pitch story ideas, track and analyze coverage accordingly. Interestingly, there is a need to engage with media both internally as well as externally. The Indian ambassador is right in his reading of the situation and it remains to be seen how the Public Diplomacy Division in the MEA incorporates it in its long term strategy.

Suggestions/Critiques welcome.

-- Madhur


  1. allsteelAug 29, 2010 03:57 AM

    Dear Friends,

    Hi this is Samir a mechnical engineer working with a steel export company since last 15 years ,from New Delhi India , We sincerely believe that peace
    in south Asian region is the only desire by all living in India and
    China , We always wish and hope that top leaders in both the countries
    understand this that
    after centuries our civilization has come to this stage that we can
    dream and work for better life for our citizens , We need to focus more
    on co-operation between technology and human resource sharing so that
    both countries can make better living for all.
    There is no authenticity in who is in number one position in Asia , But
    it is the quality of progress and life that any region can offer to its
    All countries are well equipped with nuclear capabilities and with
    weapon of mass destruction , It should not happen that mistake of our
    generation leave a permanent scar on our lifes , that will require
    generations of pain and misery to fill in our lifes.

    Humanity is very very advanced now and very much mature too. We
    sincerely pray to god & believe that China – India can be good friends
    again and if tried with open mind , We can be brothers too soon as we
    used to be 60 years ago when there was abject poverty in both the

    Regards ,

    Er.Samir Agarwal.
    Mobile -0091-9811563958.