Posts Tagged ‘BBC’

Editor latest victim in Chinese censorship crackdown

This was first posted at Journalism, Journalists and the World.

When things start going bad the first thing dictators do is limit information about just how bad things are. And China is acting according to the same script.

As the global economic slowdown started to hit China, President Xi Jinping stepped up pressure on the media. Then more cases of corruption started popping up all over the country, including in the upper echelons of the party. To stop people seeing party leaders living well while many are losing their jobs, Xi figured the only thing to do was to prevent the people from seeing or hearing about such things.

The crackdown has been building. In 2013 Xi started clamping down on traditional media as well as online services. In January 2014 he put himself in charge of a new committee to keep an eye on the Internet.

The South China Morning Post reported:

News that Chinese President Xi Jinping will take charge of a new panel overseeing internet security and information technology development has sent a shiver down the spines of Chinese media practitioners and net users.

Many have expressed fears that the launch of such a high-level task force would deal another blow to press freedom which had already been suffering after Xi’s administration tightened controls on the internet in recent months.

Along the way Xi also said it is the responsibility of journalists to follow the Communist Party line and to promote government policies. He also launched a campaign against any dissent by not only going after dissidents in China but also those who have been driven into exile because of their views. The government has also started rounding up family members of Chinese living abroad who have expressed critical views of the government. The event that seemed to cause an increase in the repression was a letter that circulated just as the rubber-stamp People’s Congress started its sessions calling for Xi’s resignation. (China Digital Times has a good summary.)

The latest victim is an editor from Southern Metropolis Daily.88979198_5375e79ajw1f2cqbuhc0tj20zk0n47az

Yu Shaolei posted a resignation note online, saying he could no longer follow the Communist Party line. His message wished those responsible for censoring his social media account well.

Yu posted a photo of his resignation form on his Sina Weibo microblog account Monday evening. It was quickly taken down, but a few resourceful people saved a screen capture of the note.

From the BBC:

Under the “reason for resignation” section, he wrote: “Unable to bear your surname”.

This was a reference to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s tour of state media outlets in February, when he said journalists must give absolute loyalty to the Communist Party, and “bear the surname of the Party”.

Instructions to the media and Internet censors have included not only hyping good news about the Chinese economy and leadership, but also what stories not to allow out.

Again, China Digital Times does a great job of keeping track of the censorship directives under their “Ministry of Truth” section. Here are a few examples:

All in all, despite China’s efforts to become a major global player, the leadership is still acting like a group of 19th century petty dictators who think they can control all aspects of the lives of the people inside their borders.

New funding plan at BBC World Service raises concerns

First posted at Journalism, Journalists and the World.

The new U.K. budget eliminates separate funding for BBC World Service. Starting in the 2014 budget the World Service will be funded from the TV registration tax that funds the domestic BBC services.

What that means is a 16% cut in funding.

Folks who depend on the BBC World Reports are concerned. And I don’t mean the people who listen to the BBC service on U.S. NPR stations. I mean the people that still use shortwave radios to get fair and balanced reporting.

The BBC has started a discussion on the issue at its “Over to you” page.

The discussion is well worth a read. If for no other reason than to see how important media free of government/political interference are to some people.

Journalism in Zimbabwe — BBC Over to You 4/18

The Beeb has a great program — Over to You — that is about the state of media around the world.

This weekend they had a story about the changes in Zimbabwe.

In Zimbabwe there is only state-run broadcasting. This year the government created the Zimbabwe Media Commission with the declared intention to promote and protect the media.

The guest this week was Gerry Jackson, a Zimbabwe exile who runs a radio station aimed at Zimbabwe from England, says the only difference between the policies of the Mugabe government before and after the unity government came to power and the new media commission is that the overt violence against free media has subsided.

Private news outlets are still banned. It is still against the law to call the 86-year-old Mugabe “an old man.”

Other discussions included the use of labels such as “left wing” and “right wing” to groups.

This is a good radio program that is available live and on podcasts from the BBC web site.

BBC series on the impact of the Internet well worth a look

The Beeb as a great series on its web site called Superpower: Exploring the extraordinary power of the Internet.

Lots of interesting stories about how the Internet can and does affect society.

For example, Jiyar Gol looked at how Iraqis are using the Internet to rebuild their country and heal ethnic and religious wounds. (And by the way, I have not yet seen a similar story from any of the US media outlets.)

Another is on Afghan bloggers.

But the stuff with a really great “geek factor” are the interactive sites.

And for those who need a tutorial on how the Internet works, there is this. The cool part about this link are the counters of how many people are using the Internet that day, how many e-mails have been sent, how many Google searches and how many blog postings occurred.

Looking at the use of the Internet to get news is also interesting.

The chart represents the number and percentage of users accessing those sites based on the Nielson company monitoring system.

For example, 92.9 million people were using Fox Interactive (different from Fox News) at the time I lifted this chart, represent 1.96% of the Internet users. (Fox News drew 18 million or 0.38%.)

CNN drew 44.4 million for 0.94%, BBC had 35 million for 0.74% of online users, and the New York Times and Globo of Brazil each drew 0.49% of Internet users.

BTW, ESPN drew 26.6 million people for 0.56% of those using the Internet.

Anyway, the BBC series shows the influence and power of the Internet. It is an interesting section to visit at the BBC site. And it is too bad that only places like WIRED tend to do these kinds of stories in an ongoing basis in the American media landscape.


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