China Media Project looks at the trial of Fu Hua, a journalist in China, to question the role of employees of the official media and whether they should be held to the same legal standards as government employees:
The scope and reach of the criminal offense of bribery (受贿罪) has never been clear in China. But the lines become even murkier when the charge is applied to one of the country’s most nebulous professions: journalism. Are Chinese journalists “government officials” or “state personnel” to whom stiffer penalties should apply? Or are they performing ordinary service jobs outside the purview of the Criminal Law on bribery involving state officials?
These questions, which we saw in the Meng Huaihu (孟怀虎) case two years ago, have been replayed this month in the trial of Fu Hua (傅桦), a former reporter for Shanghai’s China Business News. They concern us here because they touch on more fundamental questions about press freedom, the role of journalism and journalists in China, and related issues such as the need (as some say) for a press law that might clear up ambiguities about journalists’ rights and obligations.