China’s new media rules
Old Communist habits die hard. Just ask Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya and ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko. That’s why, when the Chinese government announced last week that it had revised the country’s media regulations in the run up to the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing, one had to chuckle. Under the new rules, foreign reporters will apparently be allowed ...
Old Communist habits die hard. Just ask Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya and ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko. That's why, when the Chinese government announced last week that it had revised the country's media regulations in the run up to the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing, one had to chuckle. Under the new rules, foreign reporters will apparently be allowed to travel freely in the country, including to sensitive provinces such as Tibet and Xinjiang, interviewing anyone they wish and using Chinese nationals as researchers and translators.
We’ll see. The new rules sounded good in a press conference in Beijing, but the actual enforcement of them will fall to local cops, many of whom have been studying a training manual entitled “Olympic Security English.” Peter Ford, over at the Christian Science Monitor, got his hands on a copy of the manual, and notes that it teaches local patrolman phrases such as, “You’re a sports reporter. You should only cover the Games.” It also teaches cops to tell reporters that talking about the Falun Gong is “beyond the permit” and “beyond the limit of your coverage and illegal.” The AP also saw a copy of the 252-page manual and detailed the following training scenario from the book’s first chapter entitled “How to Stop Illegal News Coverage”:
The journalist says he is gathering information about Falun Gong and is detained…. The policeman says Falun Gong “is beyond your coverage and illegal. As a foreign reporter in China, you should obey China law and do nothing against your status.” The reporter is taken away to “clear up this matter.”
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