“Media Unlocked,” Chinese state media’s social media vanguard in the South China Sea dispute, is now casting itself as the victim of an ongoing battle of narratives where it is, ironically, a major player.

This after the Media Unlocked TikTok account was flooded with negative comments from users apparently unconvinced by its arguments.

“A mainstream media outlet in the Philippines, backed by Philstar Global Corp, is rallying to censor our content. We are overwhelmed with hate messages and threats on our TikTok account,” said an anchor, Meng Zhe, in a video uploaded on Monday, March 18.

On March 11, Media Unlocked claimed it was “smeared” by PressOne.PH, accusing this news organization of spewing “USA-funded propaganda” without citing any basis for its claims.

you know UNCLOS ??? Does china follow???” said one commenter on the March 18 video, referring to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Commenters on the March 11 video hit back at Media Unlocked by bringing up the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, an incident emblematic of China’s human rights record.

They also raised the possibility that the two anchors of Media Unlocked, Meng Zhe and Xu-Pan Yiru, had some assistance from artificial intelligence.

respect the arbitral tribunal decision and have peace,” said a commenter on the March 11 video, referring to the 2016 ruling of an international arbitral tribunal that invalidated China’s claims to almost the entire South China Sea.

The March 11 video has so far logged 12,200 views and 395 comments while the March 18 video has recorded 4,740 views and 521 comments on TikTok, the popular video sharing site.

As previously reported by PressOne.PH in an alert, the TikTok account, @mediaunlock, describes itself as a group of “China-based Journalists,” “Covering China & Global Issues,” without explicit mention however of its direct connection to China Daily, a Chinese state media entity. Felipe F. Salvosa II

This report was made possible by an Internews project to build the capacity of news organizations in understanding disinformation and influence operations in the Philippines.

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Isang Tiktok account ang nahanap ng PressOnePH na naglalabas ng propaganda tungkol sa kasalukuyang hidwaan sa West Philippine Sea. Maraming akusasyon ang naturang account laban sa Pilipinas at sa mga media organization dito.

Ngunit ang account na ito ay pinapatakbo ng malaking media organization na pagmamayari ng pamahalaan ng China. Nikko Balbedina


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