Netizen Voices: No Word on Bird Flu from CCTV News

Extensive non-coverage of the H7N9 bird flu, which has sickened and killed several patients in Shanghai and surrounding provinces.

Extensive non-coverage of the H7N9 bird flu, which has sickened and killed several patients in Shanghai and surrounding provinces.

The April 5th edition of CCTV’s flagship evening news program News Simulcast did not mention a word about the H7N9 strain of bird flu, which has already claimed six lives. Instead, it dwelt on the tidal bore coming up the Amazon River and, taking advantage of the “Sino-African honey moon” following Xi Jinping’s visit, the Great Migration on the Serengeti. CCTV has manifest its “selective blindness” before, such as when it covered Hurricane Sandy but ignored protests in Ningbo.

This has triggered harsh criticism online. One Weibo user posted a list of topics covered in today’s broadcast:

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News Simulcast Program, April 5, 2013

1. Xi Jinping holds ceremony to welcome Bruneian Sultan Hassanal’s visit to China.
2. Xi Jinping holds talks with Bruneian Sultan Hassanal. The two heads of state decide to promote the Sino-Bruneian relationship to the level of “strategic cooperation.”
3. Xi Jinping holds ceremony to welcome Burmese president’s visit to China.
4. During his meeting with Burmese president Thein Sein, Xi Jinping emphasizes the need to strictly hold to the correct direction, ceaselessly push forward the Sino-Burmese friendship.
5. Li Keqiang meets with Bruneian Sultan Hassanal.
6. Zhang Dejiang meets with Bruneian Sultan Hassanal.
7. For the first time, the Boao Forum for Asia will include political leaders and issues from all five continents.
8. Amazon River awaits tidal bore. Our reporters are carefully preparing for live broadcast.
9. Report on 2013 Great Migration in East Africa.
10. President of Tanzania: CCTV’s live broadcast on Great Migration is exceptionally meaningful.
11. Shanxi: Getting through “the last kilometer” of agrarian hydraulic project.
12. 【News Feature】Morticians: Understanding is as precious as life.
13. Domestic news bulletin.
14. Second round of dialogue of Iran nuclear crisis takes place in Almaty.

Popular “weiber” Zuoyeben weighs in:

@作业本: Sina Weibo is brimming with discussion of the bird flu, while News Simulcast doesn’t even say a word. Now that’s the biggest gap in the world.

Zuoyeben has 5.51 million followers on Sina Weibo.

新浪微博满屏都是禽流感的消息,新闻联播一字没提,这就是世界上最遥远的距离。

“H7N9″ is currently the second hottest topic on Weibo, followed by “bird flu.” At the same time, some weibo critical of the government’s delay in reporting flu cases have been deleted.

More Weibo commentary:

@温州张宏良: Nothing about the H7N9 avian flu. News Simulcast has been reduced to a journalistic disgrace!

没有H7N9禽流感新闻,《新闻联播》已沦为新闻的耻辱!

@袁道唯: If the virus were had taken lives in Europe or the U.S., you can imagine how much CCTV would flog the story.

要是这病毒是在欧美整出人命,可以想像央视会多么地连篇累牍。

@ 威尼斯的彩虹-ljf: CCTV is no longer the people’s television station–if it ever had been! It only exists to make profit and numb the masses. Is anyone still watching CCTV? Does anyone still need the brain-washing?

央视已经不是人民的电视台,或者一直都不是!它只不过是追求利润,麻木大众的工具而已。大家还要看央视,还要被洗脑吗?

@秦前红: The issues at home, the bird flu, water pollution, the dead pigs, none of these get covered, but you run around reporting on tidal waves in Brazil and Africa’s Great Migration. CCTV is pretty damn sick!

自己的禽流感、水污染、死猪事件等全部不播,却跑去播巴西潮水、非洲动物迁徙,央视真TM有病!

Via CDT Chinese. Translation by Mengyu Dong.