Beijing: Chinese state television launched
an Arabic-language channel beamed to the Middle East and
Africa on Saturday as part of efforts to expand the communist
government`s media influence abroad.
The 24-hour channel will air in 22 Arabic-speaking
countries, reaching a total population of nearly 300 million
people, China Central Television said in a statement.
The channel "will serve as an important bridge to
strengthen communication and understanding between China and
Arab countries," said a CCTV vice president, Zhang Changming,
in the statement.
Beijing is carrying out a multi-billion-dollar effort to
raise the profile of its state media abroad by expanding CCTV,
the Communist Party newspaper People`s Daily and the official
Xinhua News Agency.
The effort has a budget of 45 billion yuan (USD 6.6
billion), according to a report last month by the Hong Kong
newspaper South China Morning Post.
The Arabic channel will carry news, feature stories,
entertainment and education programs and will gradually expand
its offerings, CCTV said. The network already broadcasts in
English, French and Spanish as well as in Mandarin.