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Taking the journal out of journalism

BEIJING (SE): The president of China, Xi Jinping, seemed to be intent on taking the journal out of journalism, when he addressed a symposium after a visit to the nation’s three leading news providers, the People’s Daily, Xinhua News Agency and China Central Television (CCTV), on February 19.

During his talk he stressed the importance of redefining journalism away from reporting on what is happening towards guiding public opinion down the channels approved by the Communist Party of China and the national government.

Xinhua reported Xi as saying that journalism must be managed, as publicity is “crucial for the party’s path, the implementation of party theories and policies, the development of various party and state causes, the unity of the party, the country and people of all ethnic groups, as well as the future and fate of the party and the country.”

Speaking as though it is the existence of the party that gives journalism its credence, he pointed to public supervision and positive publicity as the two compatible functions of media.

He stressed that journalists need to enhance their own awareness in order to align their ideology, political thinking and their actions with those of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and play a role in translating its theories and policies into public action, as well as giving spiritual enrichment to the people.

Xi added that the journalism industry should accelerate its progress in fostering political beliefs among its workers, as well as promoting excellence and becoming people that the party can trust.

He also encouraged party officials to make good use of the media in promoting party policy and ideals, as well as to understand grass roots opinions, uncover conflict and problems, guide public feeling and mobilise people to push forward in their work.

During a visit to Xinhua before the symposium, Xi called for more in depth reporting on the work of grassroots cadres, as they are integral to the party’s rule. He also spoke directly with American staff at the CCTV Washington office in the United States of America, encouraging them to be more educational, as well as entertaining in their programming.

Within his tight parametres, it could be difficult to find space to provide any type of journal on the real events of the day.


Voice of America quoted one disgruntled journalist, who asked not to be named, as saying, “While there used to be some room to manoeuvre and do our work, now there is little room left at all.”

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