Didn’t know? Well, neither did I!
I am currently doing a course in which more than 20 different nationalities are represented. Our main subject being journalism, it is not uncommon for us to discuss the divergences found between the media in our different countries of origin. Today, I was talking to a chinese student.
Freedom of the press is a fascinating topic when it comes to China. The biggest and fastest developping country in the world is currently depriving its entire population from some of the world’s most important news. Don’t go looking for an objective article about all the foreigners’ support for an independant Tibet in the China Daily. What matters in the chinese media industry is what the chinese government thinks and says.
The chinese government thinks facebook and twitter are harmful sites for their nation. So Facebook and Twitter are not available in China. On the other side, we learn that these online platforms are extensively used by journalists in Western countries. So where has freedom of speech gone for chinese people?
Ironically, as this same chinese student informed me today, a World Media Summit was held last Thursday in Beijing. Anyone actually heard about it? The organisation of this summit came from a proposition made to China after the Olympic Games by some of the biggest international news organisations like News Corporations, The Associated Press, Reuters, the BBC, Turner Broadcasting System and even Google.
Both the BBC and CNN seem to have discarded this news. Sky News only mentions Murdoch and Curley’s statements in a small article. From all the reports I have read, none mentions that any comment was made by any participants of the summit concerning China’s government strong hold on the media. Why are the international media so reticent in exposing the facts? I only found one exceptionnal article written by Agence France-Presse (AFP) for Taiwan News which addresses the issue.
The World Media Summit happened over 3 days last week in Beijing and was very positive according to chinese records. All this while all we heard was that Carla Bruni was lauching her new website, McDonald’s planned to open a franchise in the Louvre, and Cirque du Soleil’s founder clowned around in Space.