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Beijing’s media power in Southeast Asia grows

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Book cover image of Beijing's Global Media Offensive, by Joshua Kurlantzick

Image credit: Oxford University Press.

The Chinese government has sought in recent years to increase its global media influence. In Southeast Asia, Beijing has found both success and failure in those efforts, according to a new book.

The big picture: “As China becomes more powerful, it is attempting to use its influence efforts to shape policymakers’ and publics’ views, in other countries, of their own political systems and leaders — not just of China but of politics in these other countries,” writes Joshua Kurlantzick, a journalist and fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, in his book “Beijing’s Global Media Offensive.”

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Details: Kurlantzick traces how the Chinese Communist Party has managed to expand the footprint of its media narratives through Chinese state media expansion and content-sharing agreements, quiet takeovers of local Chinese language outlets, and hosting journalist trainings.

  • Kurlantzick also examines the history of Chinese soft power and sharp power campaigns in Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia and elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

Some of these efforts have been successful. Xinhua, as a wire agency, has been able to expand its content-sharing throughout Southeast Asia, and many newspapers frequently run Xinhua content as part of their regular news.

  • Most domestic Chinese-language media outlets in the region have either sold to Chinese companies or are now owned by people favorable to Beijing, Kurlantzick said.

 

Yes, but: Some efforts have failed. “Some of the state media is outright turgid and terrible, and it’s never going to have any appeal,” Kurlantzick told Axios in an interview.

  • In addition, “the more authoritarian turn in China has turned off quality reporters from wanting to work at state media,” he said. That has made it far more difficult for state broadcaster China Global Television Network to achieve the kind of international status that Al Jazeera has, despite its major international expansion in recent years.

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Why social media makes you feel bad

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Have you ever found yourself scrolling through social media and noticed you felt a bit down? Maybe a little envious? Why aren’t you on a yacht? Running a startup? Looking amazing 24/7?

The good news is you are not alone. Although social media has some benefits, it can also make us feel a little depressed.

Why does social media make us feel bad?

As humans we inherently compare ourselves to others to determine our self-worth. Psychologists call this social comparison theory.

We primarily make two types of comparisons: upward and downward comparisons.

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Upward comparisons occur when we compare ourselves to someone else (in real life or on social media) and feel they are better than us (an unfavourable comparison for us) in whatever domain we are assessing (such as status, beauty, abilities, success, and so on).

For example, comparing your day at work to your friend’s post from the ski fields (we’re looking at you Dave!) is likely to be an upward comparison. Another example is making appearance comparisons which can make you feel worse about yourself or your looks .

Although upward comparison can sometimes motivate you to do better, this depends on the change being achievable and on your esteem. Research suggests upward comparisons may be particularly damaging if you have low self-esteem.

In contrast, downward comparisons occur when we view ourselves more favourably than the other person – for example, by comparing yourself to someone less fortunate. Downward comparisons make us feel better about ourselves but are rare in social media because people don’t tend to post about the mundane realities of life.

 

Comparisons in social media

Social media showcases the best of people’s lives. It presents a carefully curated version of reality and presents it as fact. Sometimes, as with influencers, this is intentional but often it is unconscious bias. We are just naturally more likely to post when we are happy, on holiday or to share successes – and even then we choose the best version to share.

When we compare ourselves to what we see on social media, we typically make upward comparisons which make us feel worse. We compare ourselves on an average day to others on their best day. In fact, it’s not even their best day. It’s often a perfectly curated, photoshopped, produced, filter-applied moment. It’s not a fair comparison.

That’s not to say social media is all bad. It can help people feel supportedconnected, and get information. So don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Instead, keep your social media use in check with these tips.

 

Concrete ways you can make yourself feel better about social media

Monitor your reactions. If social media is enjoyable, you may not need to change anything – but if it’s making you exhausted, depressed or anxious, or you are losing time to mindless scrolling, it’s time for change.

Avoid comparisons. Remind yourself that comparing your reality with a selected moment on social media is an unrealistic benchmark. This is especially the case with high-profile accounts who are paid to create perfect content.

Be selective. If you must compare, search for downward comparisons (with those who are worse off) or more equal comparisons to help you feel better. This might include unfollowing celebrities, focusing on real posts by friends, or using reality focused platforms like BeReal.

Redefine success. Influencers and celebrities make luxury seem like the norm. Most people don’t live in pristine homes and sip barista-made coffee in white sheets looking perfect. Consider what real success means to you and measure yourself against that instead.

Practise gratitude. Remind yourself of things that are great in your life, and celebrate your accomplishments (big and small!). Create a “happy me” folder of your favourite life moments, pics with friends, and great pictures of yourself, and look at this if you find yourself falling into the comparison trap.

Unplug. If needed, take a break, or cut down. Avoid mindless scrolling by moving tempting apps to the last page of your phone or use in-built focus features on your device. Alternatively, use an app to temporarily block yourself from social media.

Engage in real life. Sometimes social media makes people notice what is missing in their own lives, which can encourage growth. Get out with friends, start a new hobby, embrace life away from the screen.

Get amongst nature. Nature has health and mood benefits that combat screen time.

Be the change. Avoid only sharing the picture-perfect version of your life and share (in a safe setting) your real life. You’d be surprised how this will resonate with others. This will help you and them feel better.

Seek help. If you are feeling depressed or anxious over a period of time, get support. Talk to your friends, family or a GP about how you are feeling. Alternatively contact one of the support lines like LifelineKids Helpline, or 13Yarn.

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Social Media Buzz: Mt. Washington, Balloon, Adani, Kyrie Irving – Bloomberg

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Social Media Buzz: Mt. Washington, Balloon, Adani, Kyrie Irving  Bloomberg

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Canada adds Russian media personalities, companies in latest round of sanctions – CP24

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  1. Canada adds Russian media personalities, companies in latest round of sanctions  CP24
  2. Canada adds Russian media personalities, companies in latest round of sanctions  Halifax.CityNews.ca

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