Foreign Journalists Teach about Media Freedom

More foreign journalists have become teachers and professors of journalism in China in recent years.  Lara Farrar writes for the New York Times on the nuances and idealism present in China’s higher education system and media industry.

There is the question of what happens when students leave classrooms run by foreign journalists and enter the real world which, for most of them, means working for state-controlled media. Some say they find ways to work within the system.

“Every system has a rule, has a boundary, even in the Western media, so I think if you want to play the game better, it is better you respect the rules first,” said a reporter who studied journalism overseas and now works for a state-run newspaper who requested anonymity out of concern about losing her job. “Maybe someday when you become a really famous reporter, maybe you will have the ability to push the boundary a little, but I never say I want to change the whole system, no.”

Another anonymous journalist said that he teaches about the Pentagon Papers, the First Amendment, and the concept of independent judiciary. The article also presents the competition between government sponsored media outlets and international news corporations:

[China is] conflicted about its relationship with the international media. On one hand, foreign correspondents can face pressure; one recent example is the removal of Melissa Chan, an outspoken correspondent for Al Jazeera. On the other hand, the Chinese government is pouring billions of dollars into state-run media, which are opening bureaus worldwide as part of a strategy to create news agencies that can compete with CNN or the BBC.

See also: Journalist Expelled from China Reflectsvia CDT and other articles about foreign correspondents and press freedom in China.