The Media Not Allowed To Say “The Masses Who Don’t Know The Truth”

ESWN translates a report from Southern Metropolis Daily about a provincial government order in Yunnan banning the use of certain stock phrases in the reporting of social unrest:

… There had been a clash between more than one hundred people and the militia police at a coal mine in Luliang county, Yunnan province. When the local media reporters wrote their reports, they resorted to the usual habit of writing phrases such as “the masses who didn’t know the truth were instigated by a small number of evil elements with ulterior motives to attack the coal mine workers and the militia police,” “the villagers attempted to impede the progress of the construction work,” etc.

The Yunnan provincial party publicity department found out about the “eye-glaring” language and immediately told the media to correct it. Furthermore, they issued an urgent notice that when the media report or appraise public emergencies, they should not call people “troublemakers” and they should avoid characterizations such as “the masses who don’t know the truth” and “with ulterior motives.”

The notice pointed out that even though the causes for these mass incidents are complicated, most of the time the key turns out to be the relationship between the government/party and the masses. Very often, the party/government policies had been unreasonable, their actions ineffective or their styles improper. Experience has shown that the demands from the people with respect to internal contradictions are often reasonable, and that most people will listen to reason. The various levels of government/party should spend more time examining themselves for the cause rather than blaming the masses and handing out labels. When certain local governments hold press conferences or issue press releases to smear the masses without adequate evidence, the media should refuse to report.


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