Rightful media criticism can never be banned

By Shan Renping Source:Global Times Published: 2014-6-20 0:08:15

China's media regulator, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, published a rule on Wednesday, forbidding reporters from interviews and reports on industries and areas other than what they are in charge of and from publishing critical reports without the approval of their employers.

The new rule caused quite a stir in public opinion, and many debates focused on two questions. On the one hand, false news and journalists who take bribes or blackmail money from their sources are tarnishing the image of journalism, but on the other hand, the right of journalists as a watchdog of public opinion also needs to be secured. There should be an official and detailed interpretation of the rule.

Chinese journalism is at a critical moment. The varied quality of reporters and the fact that more media agencies have focused their attention on profits have had some negative impacts on the objectivity of media reports.

But as for the rule, more people have been focused on how reporters are forbidden to write critical reports without the approval of their bosses. Recent years have seen the publication of reports by journalists under their own names, causing sensations in society. Some of them revealed the dark side of the government and society. There has been a debate on whether these critical reports should be encouraged.

We think it is necessary to impose proper regulations on journalists. This is also a common practice among international media organizations.

But at the same time, media regulators must be fully aware of the situation of China's media professionals. A rule cannot be implemented without the support of the majority.

Freedom of expression has been a hot topic in Chinese media. Critical reports can always trigger discussions on this matter.

Now in China, it is impossible to ban all critical voices. But it must be noted that these criticisms, including critical reports, are bound to contribute to the development of Chinese society. They cannot simply follow the trail of many Western media, because their ways won't always match Chinese society.

Chinese media professionals must realize that their attempts to do critical reports about the entire national system won't succeed. China is establishing its own pathway for prosperity. This is an entirely new framework in human history.

Chinese media should learn how to get involved in the system, and play a constructive role. Their contributions will be measured by the results of their deeds. Chinese media professionals must know that in the West, media manipulates the direction of social development based on its likes or dislikes. This will not work in China.

Posted in: Observer

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