Mainland versus non-Mainland/Foreign Media in China – Ming Pao

Ming Pao (translated by ESWN) reports on the potential impact for domestic journalism of the new easing of restrictions for foreign journalists:

China Youth Daily veteran reporter said that it is inevitable that when the Chinese government permits non-mainland (Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan) and foreign correspondents to gather news freely, there will be an impact and influence on the mainland media. When they cover overlapping stories, the reports will serve as a reference point for the mainland audience and readers to understand the mainland media. Therefore, the mainland media workers working on the same story will be forced to consider their viewpoints, reporting methods and even writing styles in addition to the political positions. “You cannot let the reader see that your report is as vastly different from what the others are saying as heaven is from earth.”…

Southern Weekend’s Beijing-based reporter Ma Changbo said that the the relaxation of regulations for outside correspondents has given them an unexpected gift. Previously, the mainland authorities had emphasized that the press must not have “watchdog journalism from the outside” (that is, the media in place A cannot monitor the local government in place B). This ‘bad regulation’ is now defunct with the opening to the non-mainland media. “If the non-mainland media can do whatever you please and gather news wherever you want, then how could mainland reporters be given any less?” Ma Changbo said that his colleagues are very enthusiastic. “At the very least, the invisible yoke around our necks are gone. No one will dare to stop us by saying that watchdog journalism from the outside is not allowed.” [Full text]

According to information, many media outlets known for “watchdog reporting” are taking advantage of this policy and sending their people to “problem areas” to begin “watchdog journalism from the outside.” Those local governments and departments that are being criticized do not dare to dissent. A few years ago, Hunan province complained to the Central Publicity Department that the Guangzhou-based Southern Weekend intruded into its territory and the newspaper was punished as a result. But recently, the city of Chenzhou in Hunan province publicly announced that it was setting up a prize for watchdog journalism and encouraged media supervision from the outside. That became a topic in the mainland media circle. [Full text]

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