One World Controlled by One Director – Keso

From China’s most prominent technology commentator and blogger keso’s blog: Playin’ with IT, translated by Linjun Fan:

The year of 2007 ended dramatically.

On December 27, two Chinese government departments jointly announced a regulation to control video and audio content on the Internet, setting the tone for the “state ownership” [of these new media.] To propagate this new regulation, the state-owned broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) aired a news story on the same day, using a child and a parent’s words to argue for the legitimacy of the new regulation. The child described the Internet as “very yellow [pornographic], very violent.” Soon the phrase she used became a popular saying among Chinese Internet users, many of whom use it jokingly.

The very next day, another dramatic incident happened at the launching ceremony of CCTV’s Olympic Channel. The wife of a well-known CCTV sports broadcaster seized the podium to denounce her husband for having an affair. The episode was videotaped by an audience member with a cell phone, posted on the Internet, and watched by millions of people in and outside of China.

Such a dramatic denouement left many questions about the year of 2008.

We are watching daily news stories produced by directors of the powerful national broadcaster CCTV. These well-trained professional directors are skillful at what they are doing – mass-producing “harmony“. I am afraid that the nationalization of video services on the Internet means that they will all become like CCTV programs. Everything will be under perfect control. There will be directors, rehearsals, scripts to produce the video clips, just like what they do with the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. One world, controlled by one director. How perfectly “harmonious” will that be!

If all you see are kids saying “it’s very yellow, very violent” instructed by TV directors whenever you log onto a video-sharing website, how will you react? I will simply close the page immediately.

“It demonstrates nicely that, no matter how China tries to control Olympic-related news and imagery, anyone with a cell-phone will be a journalist come August, ” blogger William Moss commented on the CCTV scandal on his blog Imagethief.com.

However, I want to remind the journalists to be aware of the people such as the Urban Management Officers of Tianmen City, or the Party Secretary of Xifeng County who sent policemen to detain a reporter in Beijing.

When I reflect further on the incidents, I realize that CCTV, the state broadcasting administration, the Urban Management officers, and the party secretary are all trying to do the same thing – control the spread of information. But unfortunately, they encountered the Internet. Since none of the officers, the party secretary, or CCTV have succeeded in controlling the spread of information, how could the state broadcasting administration believe that it can rise above the historical trend? How could it believe that it can and must control and direct history?

Luckily we don’t have a commerce ministry that wants to stick its sphere of influence into every possible corner. If it put forward a similar regulation requiring all e-commerce companies to be owned or controlled by the state, investors of Alibaba could only mourn in sorrow.

It’s a beautiful world that we live on the same earth yet have different dreams. However, there are people who insist that we should all share the same dream, and try to manipulate our dreams into one. Isn’t that insane? [Full text in Chinese]