WAN-IFRA

A publication of the World Editors Forum

Date

Fri - 19.12.2014


China

Imprisonment of journalists worldwide reached a record high in 2012, according to a comprehensive study by the press freedom watchdog, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). The research adumbrates details of the worst excesses of offending countries, identifying a total of 232 individuals behind bars - an increase of 53 on its 2011 tally. The list take the form of a snapshot of those incarcerated as of 12.01am on December 1, 2012; it thus does not include the many journalists imprisoned and released at other points throughout the year.

The report identifies Turkey, Iran and China as having the most egregious records, with the three countries doing much to swell the overall total to its highest point since the CPJ first began conducting surveys in 1990. Eritrea and Syria were additionally classified as among the very worst offenders, with Vietnam, Azerbaijan, Ethiopia, Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia completing the top ten. Anti-democratic regimes in such countries were cited by the study as displaying evidence of extensive, autocratic and indiscriminate use of vague anti-state laws, such as terrorism, treason and subversion, in order to silence dissent and political opposition without so much as a perfunctory concession either to due process or to the rule of law.

Author

Frederick Alliott's picture

Frederick Alliott

Date

2012-12-11 19:28

This article was updated at 10:11 am on Friday, November 9. 

In stark juxtaposition with the boisterous political process we have recently witnessed in the United States is the choreographed 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which opened in Beijing this morning. During this weeklong meeting, the single party state will undergo its once-in-a-decade political transition, with President Hu Jintao handing the Party’s reigns to Vice President Xi Jinping.

Colloquially known as the “Eighteenth Big,” or “shiba da,” this is the first Communist Party Congress to be taking place in the age of Weibo, China’s three year-old Twitter equivalent, which has around 300 million users. Chinese social media commentators, however, are up against a much more foreboding foe than that which unnerved some of their American counterparts in the lead-up to election night: instead of the prospect of a great white fail whale, they are confronted with the reality of a Great Firewall.

Author

Emma Knight's picture

Emma Knight

Date

2012-11-08 19:28

For the second time in less than a week The New York Times’ account on the Chinese social-networking site Sina Weibo has been deactivated. Users wanting to interact with the NYT via the site are greeted with a “user does not exist” message. Techcrunch also reports that other Chinese social networking accounts bearing the NYTimes’ name have also been blocked, though the paper has yet to confirm that these are authentic.

As previously reported by the Editors Weblog last Thursday, The New York Times’ Sina Weibo account was suspended within hours of its launch, only to be reactivated the very same day. In the time before the account was reinstated, speculation was rife that the Times's efforts to expand into the Chinese market would be fraught with difficulty. This time the gravity of the matter appears to have escalated, as the Sina Weibo account has seemingly been deleted, not suspended as it was before.

Author

Amy Hadfield's picture

Amy Hadfield

Date

2012-07-03 18:27

For a few hours it seemed as though progress was being made in penetrating the wall of censorship that the Chinese authorities had built around the country’s Internet services. Yet barely 24 hours after it was registered, The New York TimesSina Weibo account was suspended, before being mysteriously reinstated early this afternoon. The Times had joined Weibo, the Chinese Twitter-equivalent, at the same time as it launched its Chinese language site, http://cn.nytimes.com, and within a few hours the NYT account had been "liked" by 3,300 people.

Author

Amy Hadfield's picture

Amy Hadfield

Date

2012-06-28 13:28

Twenty-three years after tanks surged into Beijing and the military opened fire on pro-democracy protestors in Tiananmen Square, Twitter’s primary Chinese counterpart Sina Weibo has snuffed out the virtual flames of remembrance. Talk of the tragedy of June 4, 1989, which has never been publically commemorated in mainland China, is now being censored in both state-controlled and social media.

Yesterday Sina Weibo, the largest and most popular microblogging site in China, deactivated a candle emoticon – formerly used to commemorate deaths reported in the news – when its "rumour control" squad noticed that netizens had begun to adopt it as a symbol of the Tiananmen anniversary, according to the Shanghaiist.

Soon afterward, the Olympic flame emoticon, designed to promote this summer’s games, was deployed as a replacement, and extinguished in turn.

Sina Weibo also blocked access to the search terms “candle” and “never forget,” and to references to the date of the crackdown that took place 23 years ago today such as “six four” (June 4) and “23,” reported The Next Web.

Author

Emma Knight's picture

Emma Knight

Date

2012-06-04 16:13

This week, The Guardian launches a seven-day series examining different aspects of Internet censorship around the world, journalism.co.uk reports. What makes this series so interesting, apart from its illuminating coverage of the intricacies of Internet control? The site also offers online versions of the articles translated into Chinese, Russian, and Estonian for non-English speaking readers whose home countries may be facing concerns about the open Internet, or even total online censorship. 

 “The Guardian is taking stock of the new battlegrounds for the Internet,” the website says. “From states stifling dissent to the new cyberwar front line, we look at the challenges facing the dream of an open Internet.”

The first day of the series, titled, “Day one: the new cold war,” features stories about microbloggers battling the online firewall in China, the possibility of government control of the Internet in Russia, and the widespread role of the Internet in Estonia, including issues of cyber attacks, according to The Guardian’s website. Each of the three articles is available in both English and an additional language, depending on the subject of the article.

Author

Gianna Walton's picture

Gianna Walton

Date

2012-04-16 13:46

There’s plenty of bad news available about the Chinese press. Rated as the sixth lowest-performing country on Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index, China is famous for targeting journalists, bloggers and social media users who write about subjects that its leaders would rather were kept quiet. Recent restrictions imposed on microblogging services owned by Sina Corp. and Tencent Holdings Ltd and general attempts by the authorities to restrict online conversation about disgraced Communist party leader Bo Xilai are just the latest examples.

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-04-12 19:08

It seems the corruption of the news media in China extends not only to suppressing negative content, but also to planting positive content as well. According to The New York Times, various Chinese print and television media organizations regularly profile executives or otherwise feature companies in exchange for thousands of dollars in bribes.

Although such practices are technically illegal in China, the transactions are so rampant that many public relations firms and advertising agencies openly admitted to paying for coverage, the article said.

The Bejing office of Ogilvy and Mather, for example, told The New York Times in an email, “Our policy is to advise our clients to not participate in such activities. However, in some industries, such as luxury, the practice of soft news placements is very common so this is something that we have also done before.”  

Author

Gianna Walton's picture

Gianna Walton

Date

2012-04-04 18:50

In light of the removal of Chongqing party leader Bo Xilai from his position last week, the Chinese online community has been buzzing with rumors and government criticism—all without ever mentioning their political leaders by name, according to The Guardian.

Microbloggers have been using cryptic code words, ranging from Teletubbies to Instant Noodles, to keep comments about Bo’s dismissal and meetings of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party from being blocked, The Guardian reports.

Internet users nicknamed Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao “Teletubby,” or tianxianbaobao as the show is called in China, the article said. Other codes include instant noodle brand Master Kong (Kang Shifu) for alleged Bo supporter Zhou Yongkang and “Tomato” (xihongshi) for Bo himself, the article said.

The blog Offbeat China also published a list of key words used by bloggers as well as sample blog posts that incorporated the codes, the article said.

Author

Gianna Walton's picture

Gianna Walton

Date

2012-03-23 14:36

Starting from the current issue The Economist will have a weekly section devoted to China, the paper's leader announced.

This is the first time since 1942, when the a US section was introduced, that the news magazine is dedicating an entire section to a single country, the article explained. Thematic sections and blogs as well as specific columns are usually focused on a geographical area, as Banyan, the blog dedicated to Asia, which takes its name from the Banyan tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment and Gujarati merchants used to conduct business.

The name for China blog has not yet been decided and the paper invited readers to send suggestions. It will ideally need to agree with the style and 19th-century origins of the other sections and columns names, from Bagehot, the column dedicated to Britain, which takes its name from Walter Bagehot, British constitutional expert and early editor of The Economist, to Baobab, the section focused on Africa and Middle East which owes its name to the African tree.

The reason for dedicating a whole section to just one country lies in the role of global superpower that China is gaining on economic as well as political level, The Economist explained.

Author

Federica Cherubini's picture

Federica Cherubini

Date

2012-01-27 17:24

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The World Editors Forum is the organization within the World Association of Newspapers devoted to newspaper editors worldwide. The Editors Weblog (www.editorsweblog.org), launched in January 2004, is a WEF initiative designed to facilitate the diffusion of information relevant to newspapers and their editors.


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