Partnership with China Central Television News Agency (CCTV+) aims to distribute Caribbean news content to an international audience.

CBU hopes that the new arrangement will allow Caribbean content to be aired on more than 1,600 channels worldwide and offer locally produced content to broadcasters including the BBC and CNN for use in their own news programming.

According to a CBU press release (20 April), the deal will also allow participating CBU members to download international news material rights-free from CCTV+. Moreover, members will also have the opportunity to upload their news footage to the CCTV+ website to improve the visibility and reach of their own content.

The partnership comes at a time when China is seeking to improve its strategic and political ties with the region, including large scale investments in tourism, infrastructure and in particular, the media.

In November 2016 China’s President Xi Jinping used an address at the inaugural China-Latin America and Caribbean Media Summit in Santiago, Chile, to urge greater collaboration between Chinese and Caribbean media houses. Using the Chinese proverb “Shared aspirations can unite us even if we don’t know each other”, Xi urged journalists to “strengthen mutual support” and promote journalism cooperation at all levels, including opening bureaus in China and encouraging news outlets to send their journalists to China to study.

Despite the partnership being in its early days, some observers are sceptical of China’s interest in the Caribbean media landscape, noting its ongoing use of media investment in Subsaharan Africa as a means of soft power to exert political influence.

The new exchange with CCTV+ is due to be launched by the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC), an affiliate of CBU that specialises  in providing content for the region’s diaspora community.