In China, Speech and Silence Both Come With Price Tags

From China Media Project:

A heated debate about ethical journalism spread through China’s media last October after China Youth Daily exposed the country’s latest “gag fee” case, in which scores of journalists accepted payoffs from a mine boss in Shanxi to suppress the story of a work-related death. [Frontpage photo: “Lucky Chinese Money” by Vanessa Pike-Russell available at under Creative Commons license.]

Last week, just as the Linfen “gag fee” case faded from the national spotlight, China Youth Daily whipped up another hot-button media ethics issue, reporting on the apparently widespread practice of publishing articles in exchange for payments generally referred to in Chinese as “publishing fees,” or fabiaofei (发表费).

The China Youth Daily investigation focused on the national magazine Reportage (报告文学), a once respected vehicle for serious literary journalism that has faced a dramatic decline in both circulation and esteem since its heyday in the 1980s.

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