BY Tenzin Sangmo
DHARAMSHALA, Dec. 25: A US Congressional inquiry into the news agency Associated Press (AP) has urged AP to publicly release the text of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) it signed with China’s state news agency Xinhua in November, reports Washington Post.
AP’s Chief Executive Gary Pruitt reportedly visited Beijing and met with Xinhua President Cai Mingzhao.
In an announcement Xinhua published about the MoU in late November, the Xinhua president reportedly said, “the two news agencies have broad cooperation in areas including new media, application of artificial intelligence (AI) and economic information.”
The 14 lawmakers that form the inquiry team were reportedly concerned by the announcement given the prevailing political climate of U.S.-China relations, and China’s proven underhandedness in spreading its influence in business, technology, and media overseas.
The Congressional inquiry is headed by Reps. Mike Gallagher and Brad Sherman, with support from Sens. Tom Cotton, Mark R. Warner and Marco Rubio.
In the letter to the AP President, the lawmakers wrote, “In sharp contrast to the AP’s independent journalism, Xinhua’s core mission is to shape public opinion in ways sympathetic to the CCP’s legitimacy and behavior.”
The 2017 annual report by Congress’ U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission declared that part of Xinhua’s political role was to “discredit Western media outlets, and control public discussion of China,”.
AP is yet to release the complete text of the MoU.
“The MoU does not include or envision any sharing of artificial intelligence information, or any other technology,” AP spokesperson Lauren Easton was quoted by the Washington Post.
The lawmakers have expressed further concerns about the ambiguity of the nature of the MoU.