On Monday, Chinese News TV (CNTV), a nightly weekday news program delivered mainly in Mandarin Chinese, made its maiden broadcast on cable via the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC).
The broadcast is part of a deal between the media giant and a Filipino-Chinese media company that aims to foster Filipino-Chinese culture, keep the same community informed on current events, and promote China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative.
However, the Chinese news program’s premiere drew flak online, most of which embodied anti-Chinese sentiments. Other displeased comments raised that CNTV’s producer, Horizon of the Sun Communications Inc., is also behind “Chinatown TV,” the longest-running Filipino-Chinese lifestyle program. Around this same time last year, the show was likewise slammed for co-producing “Iisang Dagat,” a tribute song in Mandarin and Filipino sung by Imelda Papin that seemed to many to be Chinese propaganda.
This deluge of disapproval online was what prompted ABS-CBN Integrated News and Current Affairs chief Ging Reyes to defend the agreement.
On Twitter, the news exec clarified that the deal between ANC and CNTV “should not be equated with the intrusions in the West Philippine Sea” and that the show is “produced by fellow Filipinos who belong to the Filipino-Chinese community.”
In the same thread, she also implored viewers that “rather than belittle [CNTV’s] attempt to provide a service to their local community, it’s time we considered embracing the diversity of this land we call home.”
Barnaby Lo, a journalist and a foreign correspondent for a US-based news network, echoed the same sentiment. In a tweet on Thursday, Lo confirmed that “there was nothing to indicate the show has any political leaning” after watching the show. He also leaves it to ABS-CBN to refute any claims of bias by doing its “job to maintain the show’s editorial independence.”
Chinese News TV, now going by “Chinatown News TV” first aired in the Philippines via NET25, a network owned by the Iglesia ni Cristo church, back in 2017 before making a shift to the state-owned IBC-13 channel. Marking the show’s shift to ANC, ABS-CBN said it “retains the editorial control, provides the newscast with national stories, and ensures the translation from Mandarin to English subtitles are accurate.”
CNTV airs on ANC from Monday to Friday, 9:30-10:00 PM.
UPDATE: As of today, April 16, 2021, ANC has terminated its partnership with CNTV and will no longer air its newscast.