China to weed out politically incorrect journalists with new qualification systemBy AP
Thursday, March 11, 2010
China to toughen requirements for reporters
BEIJING — China will toughen requirements for reporters by launching a new certification system that includes training in Marxist and communist theories of news, a media official said, citing problems with the current crop of mainland journalists.
The South China Morning Post reported Thursday that Li Dongdong, deputy director of the General Administration of Press and Publication, said some reporters were giving Chinese journalism a bad name because they hadn’t been properly trained. She didn’t give any specific examples.
Similar comments by Li were posted on the Web site of the official Xinhua News Agency.
Li told Xinhua on Monday that the new qualification system would ensure all journalists learn socialist and Marxist theories of journalism and media ethics.
“Comrades who are going to be working on journalism’s front lines must learn theories of socialism with Chinese characteristics and be taught Marx’s view on news, plus media ethics and Communist Party discipline on news and propaganda,” Li was quoted as saying.
Communist theories of journalism say media should serve the communist leadership and not undermine its initiatives. Many democracies embrace a model where reporters serve a watchdog role independent of the government.
Chinese media have become more freewheeling since newspapers and broadcasters began relying increasingly on advertising instead of just Communist Party patronage for their survival. There have been problems with reporters demanding payment for positive news coverage or to bury a story, and instances of reporters fabricating news.
Others have run afoul of the government for reporting accurately on stories that officials didn’t want publicized. Government censors keep a tight grip on news content and routinely ban reporting on issues deemed too politically sensitive or destabilizing.
A senior editor with the Beijing-based Economic Observer said this week he had been punished for co-authoring an editorial that urged the government to scrap an unpopular household registration system, saying it discriminated against the poor.