China paid, threatened Canadian media to manipulate news, further foreign interests: report

Specific examples of the media manipulation scheme were redacted, according to the Special Report on Foreign Interference in Canada's Democratic Processes and Institutions.

China paid, threatened Canadian media to manipulate news, further foreign interests: report
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A parliamentary committee looking into foreign meddling found media executives and journalists were paid by China as part of its clandestine operations in Canada.

On Monday, the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP) published a report alleging China was “interfering with Canadian media content via direct engagement with Canadian media executives and journalists.” 

Specific examples of the media manipulation scheme were redacted, according to the Special Report on Foreign Interference in Canada's Democratic Processes and Institutions.

The redacted portion described “examples of [China] paying to publish media articles without attribution, sponsoring media travel to the [People’s Republic of China], pressuring journalists to withdraw articles and creating false accounts on social media to spread disinformation.”

As previously reported by True North, Canadian intelligence heralded longstanding concerns on China’s influence over select Canadian media.

A 2021 Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) briefing memo warned Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that ethnic media were particularly vulnerable to foreign manipulation schemes.

“In particular, PRC media influence activities in Canada have become normalized,” the memo reads. 

“Chinese-language media outlets operating in Canada and members of the Chinese-Canadian community are primary targets of PRC-directed foreign influenced activities.”

True North also reported that government-approved media were also a target. Last year, declassified CSIS documents cited “key media entities” as recipients of Chinese funding.

Beijing’s ultimate objective is influencing Canadian media to elect politicians friendly towards the Chinese Communist Party, the documents say.

China, through Vancouver’s Chinese consulate, would threaten journalists, “key editors, producers and high-ranking managers” to elect politicians who furthered their interests. 

“Traditional and online media outlets play an important role during election periods, offering a curated communications channel between political campaigns and the general public,” wrote CSIS.

“[China works] to manipulate and influence key media entities, control narratives, and disseminate disinformation.”

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