August 26, 2005

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Journalism in China: Or, Clapping for Credit

There is a rather interesting article in today's edition of the Christian Science Monitor (don't be scared by the name, it's actually a very reputable American newspaper). It is entitled "Chinese Media Resisting Party Control". It is about how a furious editor of a national newspaper, the China Youth Daily, wrote a long diatribe of a letter complaining of party resistance to good journalism. To give some context, the China Youth Daily is considered a progressive paper that takes on issues about official corruption, and Li Datong, the editor, as a young man protested in 1989 against his inability to tell the truth. One particularly telling part of the letter was the complaint against the newly revised compensation incentive scheme for the journalists:

Mr. Li's letter, leaked Aug. 17, took issue with a new "appraisal system" introduced by chief editor Li Erliang. It would tie promotion and monetary reward to praise by party officials. In the new "pay for praise" policy, reporters would receive 50 pay credits for high reader response, but between 90 and 120 pay credits for stories praised by communist youth league officials. The youth league is the party group responsible for the paper.

"If you don't change this appraisal system, our paper will become a complete fake," Li wrote in the dissent, which received strong backing among many staff reporters who are too junior to survive making criticisms in the hard world of Chinese state-run media.

Definitely worth a read.

posted by HK Dave on 08.26.05 at 01:32 PM in the


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