Ministry of Truth: Southern Weekly Tempest
The following censorship instructions, issued to the media by central government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online.
Central Propaganda Department: No media, official Weibo accounts, or individual Weibo accounts are to republish or comment on the Southern Weekly incident. Do not share the Global Times opinion piece or the incendiary Dragon TV program about the New Year’s greeting. Henceforth, it is forbidden to republish reports on the aforementioned incident. (January 4, 2013)
A segment from the Dragon TV program is available here [zh].
Statement Concerning the Southern Weekly Tempest:
Through Weibo, we have learned that those in charge of the Guangdong Propaganda Department altered the Southern Weekly’s New Year message without authorization, and have indirect confirmation of this information from the great number of deleted posts and even greater number of netizens taking a stand against this. As an institution of media and communications which is full of hope for China’s future and which accumulates positive energy through education and hard work, we not only transmit professional knowledge, but moreover devote ourselves to the common pursuits of independent thought, the spirit of freedom, and the strengthening of moral character. We strongly condemn the trampling of journalism’s basic role and the backward actions which violate humankind’s healthy development. We ask the Guangdong authorities who are involved in this debacle to issue an explanation and an apology to the public.
Nanjing University School of Journalism and Communication
Chinese journalists and bloggers often refer to these instructions as “Directives from the Ministry of Truth.” CDT has collected the selections we translate here from a variety of sources and has checked them against official Chinese media reports to confirm their implementation.
Since directives are sometimes communicated orally to journalists and editors, who then leak them online, the wording published here may not be exact. The original publication date on CDT Chinese is noted after the directives; the date given may indicate when the directive was leaked, rather than when it was issued. CDT does its utmost to verify dates and wording, but also takes precautions to protect the source.