This global media campaign was headed by China Global Television Network (CGTN), an English language media organization owned by the CCP.
This "Media Challengers" campaign opened in April of this year and stopped accepting new applications on June 10. CGTN's goal was to enlist as many reporters, presenters, DJs, podcasters and other media-savvy personalities who are fluent in English. The media outlet has reportedly been offering lucrative deals and prizes to attract more candidates.
Potential recruits are required to upload a three-minute-long video of any genre that can show their media skills. Winners and finalists of the campaign will win prizes.
These prizes include a cash payout of up to $10,000, free professional media training and job opportunities. These job offers are for part-time and full-time positions at CGTN's headquarters in Beijing as well as in its regional production centers in Washington, D.C., London and Nairobi, Kenya.
In addition to all these prizes, winners will also be invited to participate in "CGTN's coverage of the ancient Silk Road from 2021 to 2022."
The goal of this recruitment campaign is to "inspire young people from all over the world" and to "inject new power into international communication under the environment of media convergence."
CGTN's media campaign has been targeting students in universities in Europe, North America and Africa. It has even been trying to recruit Chinese individuals studying abroad.
A report from media outlets in the United Kingdom showed that CGTN has already recruited students from several universities in the country.
One video being promoted by CGTN was filmed by a student from the University of Manchester. The lead in the video, a master's student named Zhuang Shangzi, described herself in the video as "very rigorous," a "people person" and a "perfectionist."
Shangzi said she wanted to apply for CGTN's influencer program because she "loves travel," is a big fan of YouTube travel bloggers and wants to emulate two of her favorite British YouTubers: Lee and Oli Barrett.
The Barretts regularly post videos about China. Shangzi said these videos helped her see through the "bias Western media has towards China."
"Through these creators, I have come to realize that the tourism industry has an essential role in changing the perspective of China," she said. "So I'm proud that I could be a storyteller, to promote China and Chinese culture to people from all over the world. I want to promote the real China to the world."
These kinds of videos from budding content creators all over the world are becoming more common. British newspaper The Times warned that if "Western social media influencers read out China's official line on particular issues, domestic audiences might believe the Chinese Communist Party is admired by international audiences." (Related: STUDY: Facebook lets genocidal communist China influence over 751,000,000 followers.)
He Qinglian, a current affairs commentator for The Epoch Times, pointed out that CGTN can draw in a lot of young people because it offers very attractive salaries and it has state-of-the-art facilities where people can work in. In 2018, its office in London had over 6,000 local applicants competing for 90 job vacancies.
He adds that this shows that the CCP's overseas propaganda policy involves "huge amounts of both manpower and money." Both are necessary "to spread the CCP's narrative and ideology to foreign countries."
CGTN had its broadcasting license in the U.K. revoked last February after an investigation found that it was editorially controlled by the CCP. It remains to be seen whether the United States will act similarly and treat the CGTN as a national security threat or ignore what is functionally the media and propaganda arm of the CCP.