Unbridled slander against China by some Western groups like FCCC will inevitably accelerate collapse of Western media's credibility
Published: Mar 04, 2023 01:26 AM
Illustration:Liu Rui/GT

Illustration:Liu Rui/GT

On Wednesday, the Foreign Correspondents' Club of China (FCCC), an illegal organization, published its so-called Media Freedoms Report 2022 on its website, claiming that press freedoms across China have declined at an "accelerated" pace and summarizing 2022 as "another tough and draining year" in terms of the working conditions for foreign journalists in China. 

This report claims that it is "based on a survey of journalists who belong to the Foreign Correspondents' Club of China." In fact, the FCCC is an illegal organization that China has never recognized. The organization's members are made up of less than half of all foreign journalists stationed in China and are essentially a small circle of journalists from several European countries and the US with a bias against China. What credibility can this so-called investigative report by such an organization have? All it does shows the strong ideological prejudice and malicious smearing from this illegal organization against China.

This is not the first time that the FCCC has issued statements or reports criticizing  environment for reporting and press freedom in China. The organization is used to distorting facts, and discrediting and smearing China's reporting environment, and has a notorious record in this regard. Instead of talking about the massive help and convenience that China provides for foreign journalists in their work, or criticizing individual foreign media for inaccurate and distorted reporting, the organization indiscriminately blames the so-called working conditions in China, which is completely disregarding right and wrong and confusing black and white.

Any journalist who sets foot on Chinese territory should abide by Chinese laws. This is a basic principle of international communication. The FCCC's smearing of China is an illegal, impolite, and inappropriate act. Their slander has political ends. As a matter of fact, some illegal organizations and associations in the West are not independent, but tools and advance teams sent to contain China, in a bid to serve the diplomatic goals of the US and some Western countries. In this regard, we need to be highly vigilant.

In fact, compared with the US and the West, China is quite tolerant of legal and compliant journalists in China. Even some journalists who smear China are allowed to come to China to conduct interviews. However, instead of being grateful, they always view China's development and reality in an arrogant manner.

The fact is, the overall public opinion environment in the US and some Western countries, which have long touted press freedom, is becoming increasingly worse. Notably, in recent years, they have beefed up their attempts to suppress media, especially those from China and Russia. For example, the US has treated some Chinese media as "foreign agents" or "foreign missions," and in March 2020, the US government announced the expulsion of 60 Chinese journalists. China's CGTN was unjustly suppressed politically in the UK, and had its broadcasting license revoked there.

The US and some Western countries are rude, arrogant, and value-oriented toward countries with different ideologies, especially China. Washington is increasingly concerned about losing its hegemony and is becoming more hostile toward China. Furthermore, the elites in the US and some Western countries are becoming more deceptive. They are worried that their people will see the real China. After all, China represents a force of progress that serves the people. 

The practice of the US and some Western countries when it comes to Chinese and Russian media reveals their double standards and indicates the collapse of their so-called press freedom. 

The West does not have absolute freedom of the press, only freedom of the press that represents the interests of the ruling class. Those who oppose this principle will be banned. Previously, Western governments could intervene in journalism in a more subtle manner. But today, in the context of the relative decline of the West, they have begun to interfere more directly and rudely. The goal is to maintain the interests of their ruling class, especially in terms of ideological domination.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said in 2021, "We [China] always welcome media and journalists from other countries to do their work in China in accordance with laws and regulations, and will continue to provide convenience and assistance. What we oppose is ideological bias against China, fake news under the cover of freedom of the press, and violation of professional ethics." 

Objectivity and truthful coverage are the lifeblood of media. Some Western media's false reporting has triggered dissatisfaction and indignation among the Chinese people. If certain Western media and individuals continue to prioritize ideology over truth, and engage in unscrupulous rumors, smears and attacks against China, this will inevitably accelerate the collapse of the Western media's credibility.

The author is an associate professor at the Guangming School of Journalism and Communication of China University of Political Science and Law. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn