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    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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Al Jazeera: Arabs’ 100,000 Questions for Chinese Media

Posted by Author on April 23, 2011

Ezzat Shahrour, Chief correspondent of Al-Jazeera’s Arabic in Beijing, speaks about the Chinese media in his recent Chinese blog post “The Arab People Have 100,000 Questios for Chinese Media,” which triggered heated discussion on China’s state-run media and itscredibility.

Shahrour strongly criticizes in his post the lopsided coverage of the Chinese media on the uprisings in the Arabic world, calling it “intentional misreading of the popular will.”

Shahrour writes: “The current revolution in the Arab world is an omni-directional and multi-level reform. It is newsworthy in itself. In this widespread and deep-reaching movement, the Arab people have justice on their side, but are misread by the Chinese media.”
Shahrour points out Chinese media reports seldom report the killing of Libyans by Gaddafi’s regime. “Chinese journalists accompany Gaddafi loyalists on streets, hospitals and schools that have been prearranged for the convenience of their reporting… but it’s hard to find them at important press conferences given by the opposition party.”

“The Chinese media has mostly been reporting on the actual conflict and how the West is ‘attacking’ Libya. In contrast, there has been little analysis on the political issues of Libya, including how Gaddafi’s government is falling apart, the country’s long-term political outlook, and why many Libyans are so unhappy with their ruler,” said Shahrour in his blog post, citing the article “Chinese Media’s Ostrich Policy.”

“I just don’t see what the point is of media spending so much money to prepare their journalists to go to a dangerous place like Libya,” says Shahrour. “The Chinese reporters constantly emphasize that the majority of Libyans support Gaddafi, so I suppose those opposition members who are gathering daily on the streets and in public squares must be from some fairy wonderland?”

“The Chinese media tell us how Gaddafi’s forces are gaining ground on the opposition forces, but they don’t tell us that there are tens of thousands of foreign mercenaries killing Libyan people at Gaddafi’s behest.”

According to Deutsche Welle, China looks up to the Qatar-based Al Jazeera network as a model of how non-Western media can win global prominence. Therefore Shahrour’s words carry a special weight.

A comment to Shahrour’s blog post says: “Thank you for giving Chinese people a new mirror, so that they can see a view different from the one created by the state-run media.”

Another comment says: “I believe you know in China, there are propaganda departments in governments of all levels. And what they do all day is to pass the requirements of the party to various media.”

China has approved RMB45 billion in budget to “improve” its international image and to expand the global influence of its state run media.

Shahrour believes that Chinese media does not have a voice, because of its lack of credibility. “They are not trusted in China, how can they be respected internationally?”

Shahrour points out that credibility is what gives a media its life. “Media have responsibility and an obligation to report events comprehensively.”

NTD reporters Tang Rui and Wang Mingyu.

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