South Africa’s independent press has been largely successful in resisting Chinese government efforts to influence its content, a recent study by US think tank Freedom House has found.
A Freedom House report titled “Beijing’s Global Media Impact 2022” found that South Africans as a whole, including journalists, are highly skeptical of the Chinese state’s narrative. Despite the Chinese government’s success in building ties with the ruling African National Congress, “reports about China in the South African media remain widely mixed…and often critical of the Chinese government. While the media is censored, experts say mistrust of South Africa’s state media generally stems from the country’s apartheid legacy.” They say
Even with a free press, the Chinese government still tries to influence South Africa’s media environment, according to the results of a 2022 Freedom House study that examined China’s media influence in 30 countries around the world.
A Chinese private company linked to the Chinese Communist Party (CPP), StarTimes Group, has invested 20% in StarSat, a local satellite provider that provides Chinese state media television channels. Of the 30 countries surveyed around the world, Beijing’s efforts to influence the media were rated “high” or “very high” in 16 countries, and only half of all countries surveyed were found to be capable of countering the message. Vulnerable.