State control of media in China has certain benefits, including high quality television programmes, says Orville Schell of the Asia Society.
Orville Schell, the Arthur Ross director of the Centre on US-China Relations at the Asia Society, says the principles of what constitutes the media were first laid down by Chairman Mao in 1942. In a speech in Yan’an, Mao said there was “no such thing as…independent media…Every voice has a party characteristic.” As a result, the function of the media in China is to represent the party. However, state control of the media has had positive effects, says Schell. For example, the government’s crack down on “tawdry” entertainment shows, while bad for a free press is arguably good for society. Furthermore, Chinese television has a high number of quality programmes, including serious coverage of global affairs. Unlike the west, says Schell, where money speaks, Chinese media suffers two masters: “One is the commercial master – what makes money – and the second is party control.”
(Photo by Guang Niu/Getty Images.)