China Media Group was formed in March 2018 following the 13th National People’s Congress. The group brought under its umbrella all the media outlets run by China Central Television (CCTV), China’s official, state-owned television behemoth with over 50 channels and more than one billion viewers; China Global Television Network (CGTN), formerly CCTV International, a broadcast media company that consists of seven international television channels; China National Radio, the official state-controlled radio station in China with 17 channels; and China Radio International, a radio service targeting the global audience.

Media assets

Television: China Central Television (CCTV)– CCTV-1, CCTV-1 Hong Kong & Macau, CCTV-2, CCTV-3, CCTV-4 Asia, CCTV-4 Europe, CCTV-4 America, CCTV-4 Daifu, CCTV-5, CCTV-5+, CCTV-6, CCTV-7, CCTV-8, CCTV-9, CCTV-10, CCTV-11, CCTV-12, CCTV-13, CCTV-14, CCTV-15, CCTV-16, CCTV-17, CCTV-4K; Foreign operations- CCTV Entertainment, CCTV Daifu, CCTV Overseas Chinese Opera; China Global Television Network (CGTN)

Radio: China National Radio (CNR)– Voice of China (CNR1), Business Radio (CNR2), Music Radio (CNR3), Golden Radio (CNR4), Zhongua News Radio (CNR5), Shenzhou Radio (CNR6), Radio Greater Bay (CNR7), Ethnic Minority Radio (CNR8), Story Radio (CNR9), Senior Citizen Radio (CNR10), Tibetan Radio (CNR11), Reading radio (CNR12), Uygur Radio (CNR13), Hong Kong Edition (CNR14), Highway Radio (CNR15), Countryside Radio (CNR16), Kazakh Radio (CNR17); China Radio International (CRI)

State Media Matrix Typology: State-Controlled (SC)

Ownership and governance

China Media Group is a state-controlled broadcast group that is accountable to both the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council. The company is directly subordinated to the National Radio and Television Administration, a ministry-level agency. The chairman of the group is a high official from the Chinese government.

Source of funding and budget

Some of the media outlets in China Media Group generate large amounts of income through advertising. All of them, however, receive financing from the state budget. Although the share of the state funding in CCTV’s total budget has decreased in recent years, it is still significant, accounting for more than half of the group’s overall expenditure. Although the consolidated turnover of China Media Group is not available, analysis carried out by Media and Journalism Research Center based on the annual budgets of most media outlets part of China Media Group indicates that state funding accounts for more than half of the group’s expenditures.

Editorial independence

The outlets run by China Media Group are the main propaganda broadcast channels of the Chinese government. The group’s broadcasters act as mouthpieces of the Chinese Communist Party, following a set of editorial rules imposed by the government, according to Chinese journalists and experts consulted for this report. Various administrations across the world have acted against the media run by the group. In February 2021, the UK media regulator withdrew the broadcast license for CGTN in the UK, as it found that the license was held illegally by another company, Star China Media Limited, which had no editorial responsibility for the station’s content, as the British law requires.

China Media Group has been boosting its presence internationally in recent years in various parts of the world, signing cooperation agreements with numerous media from many countries. One of the regions that has been targeted by the Chinese media group recently is Africa.

There is no statute and no independent assessment/oversight mechanism to validate the independence of the media outlets part of China Media Group, which are the main propaganda channels of the Chinese government.

October 2023