Media Scholar Urges End to Ban on Cross-regional Reporting

China Media Project summarizes and discusses a talk given by CMP fellow Zhang Jiang (展江) in which he calls for an end to the ban on “cross-regional reporting,” or reporting outside a journalist’s home province, which was one way for local media to avoid censorship by their local propaganda bosses:

Zhan Jiang’s open call for an end to restrictions on cross-regional reporting was, in my view, both the boldest and the most clear-headed statement in his wide-ranging talk. Aside, that is, from his always keen knowledge of the history and nature of Chinese watchdog journalism.

On a number of points — and I say this with an abundance of respect for his scholarship and expertise — Zhan’s optimism seemed to get the better of his judgement.

He makes a point, for example, about violence against journalists, saying that while reporters are often killed in places like Colombia or Mexico, “not one person has suffered bodily harm while carrying out investigations” in China. He cites the example of , who, even with a hefty price on his head after his muckraking reports in Guizhou, was never harmed. But this, of course, is the very same who was beaten on a recent reporting stint to Shandong.

April 9, 2009, 10:24 AM
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