The Guangdong provincial propaganda authorities rudely interfered with Guangzhou outspoken magazine Southern Weekly with respect to the magazine’s New Year message, and forced it to replace the message with one advocating constitutionalism, with a commentary glorifying the Communist Party.
Journalists at the Southern Weekly were outraged because it was done without the consent of the responsible editor.
SCMP says, “They accused the propaganda office of ‘raping’ the paper’s editorial autonomy. While recognising that the paper could not refuse to run the introductory message, they remained defiant, opening a microblog account and issuing an open letter – later removed – expressing their frustration. About 15 of them were subjected to restrictions on their use of microblogs after discussing the incident at work.
“‘We demand an investigation into the incident, which has seen proper editorial procedure severely violated and a major factual error printed,’ the open letter said.
“It is rare for mainland journalists to collectively and openly challenge the authorities, given that it might cost them their jobs or subject them to official harassment. But a journalist working at the paper said most editorial staff supported the action and were contemplating the next move, declining to say whether there would be a campaign to gather signatures.”
It is a shame that the commentary written by provincial propaganda chief Tuo Zhen to replace the New Year message contains at least one spelling and one factual error about a well-known historical event.
SCMP says, “The open letter also criticised the propaganda office for taking out articles discussing anti-Japanese protests and the heaviest rain to lash Beijing in six decades in July.”
I am glad that Chinese journalists finally come out to openly fight for freedom of the press, the freedom they are endowed by Chinese constitution.
If they persist in their struggle, they will finally win because, like Martin Luther King Junior’s fight for civil rights, they have the Chinese constitution as their basis.Sources: SCMP, Singtao Daily
- Journalists in China make rare stand against censorship after changes forced in New Year editorial (vancouversun.com)
- China journalists battle censors (bbc.co.uk)
- New York Times journalist forced to leave China (chinadailymail.com)
Categories: Media & Entertainment