The mechanism of synergic communication between two systems of signifiers. The international communication of the Chinese media

With the promulgation in 2011 of the Blueprint of Outbound Development of China ’s Press and Publication Industry,1 China’s media organizations have stepped up their efforts in recent years to seek expansion and development on a global scale. So far, CCTV alone has landed in over 171 countries and regions around the world, with 70 overseas journalist centers and 314 million overseas users. As the sole organization of television media which broadcasts in six different languages around the clock,2 CCTV is definitely ranked among the leading television stations in the world in quantitative terms. In the Age of the Internet, CCTV has continued to play a leading role by achieving extensive all-media coverage on its own self-constructed platforms and on various platforms of new media. Nevertheless, CCTV has failed to achieve a commensurate audience access rate and international influence. The global TV news channels are still dominated by a limited number of giant networks like CNN and BBC. In the enhancing of a nation’s soft power, media image has always been a focus of attention in recent years both in the media academia and in the media industry.

However, the research in this field has so far failed to yield satisfactory outcomes. An image is the meaning produced by a symbol and in order to understand the logic underlying the shaping of an image, it is necessary for us to seek an answer from the system of symbols itself. Most studies of the image shaping (Wu Lei,3 2014; Wu Xinhong,4 2012; Xie Zhi,5 2010; Xue Ke,6 2008) have approached the subject from the perspective of communication strategy and communication effects, examining the meanings of the symbols themselves and the factors that govern the production of symbolic meanings, including textual interpretation, social background, cultural differences, technological standards, the human-symbol interactions etc. This present chapter attempts to analyze the differences in the images shaped by symbols from a different aspect of symbolization, that is, from the perspective of the signi- fier. Only when we have clarified the signifier in great detail can we better comprehend and interpret the signified, that is, the meaning which is produced.

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