Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 and until the 1980s, almost all media outlets in Mainland China were state-run. Independent media outlets only began to emerge at the onset of economic reforms, although state-run media outlets such as Xinhua, CCTV, and People’s Daily continue to hold significant market share.
Independent media are witnessing increasing complaints about self-censorship. However, regulatory agencies, such as the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) and the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT), continue to set strict regulations on subjects considered taboo by the government, including but not limited to the legitimacy of the Communist Party, government policies in Tibet and Xinjiang, pornography, and the banned religious topics, such as the Dalai Lama, the Falun Gong, and Muslim Uyghurs.
Chinese newspapers tend to lack depth in analysis of political events, as this tends to be more politically sensitive.
Despite heavy government monitoring, however, the Mainland Chinese media has become an increasingly commercial market, with growing competition, diversified content, and an increase in investigative reporting. Reporters Without Borders consistently ranks China very poorly on media freedoms in their annual releases of the Press Freedom Index, labeling the Chinese government as having “the sorry distinction of leading the world in repression of the Internet”. For 2018, China ranked 176 out of 180 nations.
In addition, the traditional means of media control have proven extremely ineffective against newer forms of communication, most notably text messaging.
The number of newspapers in mainland China has increased from 42 – virtually all Communist Party papers – in 1968 to 382 in 1980 and more than 2,200 today. By one official estimate, there are now more than 7,000 magazines and journals in the country.
China has many newspapers but the front runners are all State-run: the People’s Daily, Beijing Daily, Guangming Daily, Economic Daily and the Liberation Daily. The two primary news agencies in China are Xinhua News Agency and the China News Service. Xinhua was authorised to censor and edit the news of the foreign agencies in 2007. Some saw the power of Xinhua as making the press freedom weak and it allowed Xinhua to control the news market fully.
Much of the information collected by the Chinese mainstream media is published in neicans (internal, limited circulation reports prepared for the high-ranking government officials), not in the public outlets.
Nevertheless, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reported that China “continues to be the world’s leading jailer of journalists,” with 42 imprisoned journalists at the end of 2004, and accuses private companies, both foreign and domestic, of having been complacent toward or complicit with government censorship.
Also, in their Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2007 , Reporters Without Borders ranked China 163rd (or 7th from bottom) in terms of press freedom. Freedom House issued a report in 2006 claiming that the Internet is still closely monitored by the state, with access to websites and publications critical of the government being restricted, as well as foreign satellite television and radio broadcasts being censored.
Widening Chinese use of the Internet is also undercutting government efforts to control the flow of information. According to CNNIC’s 22nd Statistical Survey Report on the Internet Development in China, more than 250 million people in mainland China now have Internet access.
Although much of the Internet access in China is subjugate to the so-called “Great Firewall of China”, which blacklists certain websites and even blocks chat sessions, there are logistical problems with a firewall over such a large network.
In most instances its effects can be negated with a simple proxy. Government officials are worried that, as the number of Chinese homes with telephone lines grows from the present level of less than 4%, the State will become totally unable to monitor Internet access at residences.
A case in point is the Beijing Youth Daily. This paper has been punished for criticizing government actions and policies, but the authorities have stopped short of shutting it down.
#RobertReview: 9 | 10
China is the World’s #1 Leader in Repression of the Internet – ranked 176 out 180 nations. You can’t trust Fake News Propaganda from CCTV, Global Times, China Daily, People’s Daily, and Xinhua. But Global Social Media is fighting back.
WHAT IS SO GREAT AND ENVIOUS about CHINA being the World’s Second biggest economy when the Mainland Chinese are under Totalitarian rule, and do NOT have the 4 Freedoms (speech, faith, public assembly, petition to government), human rights, rule of law, universal suffrage and democracy?
Published: 20th August 2019.
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