Earlier this month The Journalist Monthly, a magazine published by Shanghai’s Wenhui Xinmin United Press Group, which also publishes the English-language Shanghai Daily, ran a lengthy article recounting the most important Chinese media events of 2009. They were listed out month by month, with brief summaries citing news coverage and including quotes from officials and academics.
One might expect the article, re-posted in the media section at People’s Daily Online, to offer a sanitized view of the major events of the year. But the piece is not so simple, in fact.
In the January section, for example, the magazine seems to attack head on the recent (and not so recent) official standpoint — driving the vociferous campaign in China this winter over “fake reporters” — that poor ethics in the media owe to lax accreditation procedures and poor oversight, and not to more fundamental institutional problems.
Noting the debate over media corruption that followed the so-called “gag fee incident” in late 2008, the magazine quotes the published views of senior party thinkers. There is He Zengke (何增科), [a scholar] from the Compilation and Translation Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, saying that “the system in which institutional units in news publishing and radio and television combined official and commercial roles [is] the institutional root of various unwholesome tendencies in this sector.”