ISLAMABAD: China appears to be using Islamabad for a bilateral arrangement to facilitate unhindered control over Pakistan's domestic media through an initiative which disguises as a joint effort to counter a "western smear campaign" and monitor public opinion, the initiative would clearly put China in the driver's seat, a media report said.
In September 2021, both countries held the first China Pakistan Media Forum to deliberate upon the form of cooperation intended for countering "misinformation" against them. The gathering participants pledged to counter propaganda against their countries through enhanced communication and developing strong coordination by creating the "China-Pakistan Media Corridor", reported Washington Times.
Nong Rong, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, had said that the two countries were confronting a propaganda campaign, and the members of their media communities should work together to "promote truth, justice and fairness and become a positive force for regional peace and stability."
But indications suggest that China would place a watchdog over Pakistani media, which would have overarching powers in dictating content, presentation and censorship. The proposed institution would monitor public opinion through a network of supporting think tanks and opinion-makers, said Washington Times.
Although the body would have representation from both countries, Beijing is more likely to dictate terms through its embassy in Pakistan. The mechanism would cover Chinese media units present in Pakistan, including local Xinhua News Agency (Urdu), Gwadar Pro and the China Global Television Network. Pakistan would also be responsible for establishing a nodal agency, including representations from the Pakistan Prime Minister Office, Ministry of Information, CPEC Authority, etc, according to Washington Times.