Chinese editor fired over Tibet editorials
blog.ifeng.com Zhang Ping, a senior editor of China’s Southern Metropolis Weekly, recently penned several columns under a pseudonym about Chinese censorship of the situation in Tibet. One his pieces, “How to Find the Truth About Tibet,” reflects on how both official and self-censorship among the Chinese media prevents Chinese readers from knowing the full story ...
Zhang Ping, a senior editor of China’s Southern Metropolis Weekly, recently penned several columns under a pseudonym about Chinese censorship of the situation in Tibet. One his pieces, “How to Find the Truth About Tibet,” reflects on how both official and self-censorship among the Chinese media prevents Chinese readers from knowing the full story about Tibet, and laments that readers then focus their ire on perceived Western biases rather than agitating for more press freedoms. Here’s an excerpt:
If the netizens [hyping inaccurate reports by foreign media] genuinely care about news values, they should not only be exposing the fake reports by the western media and they should also be challenging the control by the Chinese government over news sources and the Chinese media. There is no doubt that the harm from the latter is even worse than the former. When individual media outlets make fake reports about real events, it is easy to correct because just a few meticulous Chinese netizens can do the job. When media control is exercised by the state authorities, the whole world is helpless.
Just after he was sacked, Zhang wrote a blog post titled, “My Cowardice and Impotence,” in which he struggles with the work journalists are forced to produce in a place with so few press freedoms.
I am afraid of other people praising me as a brave newspaperman, because I know I am full of fear in my heart. I did write some commentaries on current affairs, and edited some articles that exposed the truth. I lost my job and was threatened for speaking the truth. However, to be honest, these were exceptional cases. They were my miscalculations. In my various media positions in the past decade, what I’ve practiced most is avoiding risk.
Self-censorship has become part of my life. It makes me disgusted with myself. Some of my peers are proud of their censorship skills, and like to show it off to employers. I have similar skills, and I am using them everyday. But I am deeply uncomfortable with it. I feel ashamed about it, just like an executioner knows that he is good at killing.[…]
[T]he media industry is different. I participate in telling lies to the public whenever I cancel a good news story, whenever I delete a sentence of truth, if we regard the media as a public good.[…] Even if I don’t have the courage and capacity to do more than I can do now, I should at least live honestly and conscientiously, and be aware of my cowardice and impotence.
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