CPJ Report: Challenged in China

The Committee to Protect Journalists has issued a report on the status of press freedom in China, covering traditional media, online and social media, and the growing global influence of China’s media and online controls. From the introduction by David Schlesinger:

Decades of reform and opening have produced nearly 600 million Internet users, more than 400 million mobile users, and more than 300 million microbloggers. The amount of pure content and communication created and enjoyed hourly is staggering.

And much of that content would have been unimaginable in the very recent past: pointed comments, reporting, pictures, and jokes on corruption, food safety, transport conditions, dodgy deals, abuse of authority, and scores of other challenging topics.

Local newspapers and magazines try to push the limits in reporting and editing and even commentary. Foreign reports on China reverberate internally like never before, becoming a part of the domestic debate.


So there has been huge, obvious, and palpable progress. And yet, like an electrified fence around a yard, evidence of the limits around tolerance and freedom is there, too, ominously looming.

The report includes chapters on challenges faced by journalists in traditional media; on the rise of online media and weibo (written by me), and on the Chinese government’s exportation of online censorship tools and practices. It also includes a video by the New York Times’ Jonah Kessel which profiles journalist Liu Jianfeng, as well as cartoons by Crazy Crab of Hexie Farm and an interactive timeline which retraces how the Bo Xilai scandal was revealed. The full report is available in Chinese as a PDF.