Digital Media Makes More Work for Ministry of Truth
Traditionally, the propaganda department has preferred to use the telephone and face-to-face meetings to transmit its directives to editors-in-chief, who are generally selected by the department.
The idea has been to leave no paper trails and editors are often ordered not to take notes but memorise instructions and deliver them verbally.
But the advent of digital media has opened a crack in the system.
With a multiplying number of websites and media outlets to deal with, the internet monitoring department now delivers instructions via email, creating documents that are more easily leaked, said Xiao Qiang, founder of China Digital Times and adjunct professor at the Graduate School of Journalism, University of California at Berkeley.
The US-based, bilingual website CDT, which is blocked in China by the Communist Party’s great firewall, started to translate and publish a selection of these directives in March.