Chinese journalists test free speech limits
Former investigative journalist Haiyan Wang describes the ways in which Chinese reporters push the boundaries of press freedom. Interview by Judith Bruhn.
Although the Chinese media is controlled by the government, journalists are continually looking for ways to push the boundaries, says Haiyan Wang, a former investigative reporter for the South Metropolitan Daily in Guangzhou (22secs). Journalists try to preempt the government by publishing news stories before a ban is issued, she says. They also circumvent bans on topics such as “Tienanmen massacre” by using ambiguous language that invites their audience to read between the lines (2mins 4secs). Other forms of alternative journalism include underground publications, use of personal blogs by journalists, and microblogs such as weibo (4mins). Wang adds that while investigative journalism once thrived in China, it is now “weakening” (12mins 37secs). Journalism nevertheless plays an important role in the country by exposing corruption and helping members of the public to win court cases against the government (12mins 53secs). On microblogs, Wang says she believes they are just a “temporary phenomenon” (18mins 7secs).
We require and create open, diverse media so we can make well-informed decisions and participate fully in political life.
Timothy Garton Ash
A personal introduction
Here is one of the most important reasons we need freedom of expression. How can we make good decisions on any issue unless we know the relevant facts and hear the arguments of others? How can we build strong, self-governing communities unless we listen to voices representing all who live in them?
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