Thursday, January 10, 2013

Journalism in China, again in the news

Yowzer. Since I whined about the poor quality of journalism in China no effective and innovative organizing had caught my ear. Until this: press freedom row erupts over censored editorial.

The British Telegraph reports: "Yesterday hundreds of people converged outside the Guangzhou newsroom of the Southern Weekend in a rare street protest. Photographs posted on social media showed demonstrators carrying signs calling for 'free press, constitutional government and democracy'." Interviews also illuminated the incident on PBS Newshour.

Following the awkward and mysterious succession of Xi Jinping to the highest rank in Chinese governance, small moves to straighten crooks in power and to narrow internet access blew up with an otherwise unremarkable order to replace criticism with a Party-cheering editorial piece in a regional newspaper. What's more, lay people supported the journalist strike and authorities invited them to return to work without persecution for protest. Capitulations like this perk up the most jaded of China watchers, but what about Chinese citizens?

Despite the paper having been allowed to go to press "as normal" today editors still fear reprisal from the government for statements to foreign reporters. What can we do to support press freedoms and legal treatment of dissidents?

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