I was cruising news sites and came across two articles listed back to back and had to laugh at the juxtaposition: –Foreign journalists embrace China’s new media freedom – -China criticizes foreign media’s irresponsible reporting Self Censorship The first article, a Reuters report, said “foreign journalists had needed government permission to report outside their home base — usually Beijing or Shanghai — but under the new rules, which came into force on Monday, they need only the agreement of the person they are interviewing.” It appears that journalists, and bloggers are not included in that mix as far as I know, will be self-censoring until they cross some tacit line that gets them in hot water. Foreign journalists can also now hire Chinese citizens, through organizations providing services to foreign nationals to assist them in their reporting activities, while relaxing other restrictions. Official reports claim that varied media coverage of China increased, before the lifting of restrictions, by 30 to 40 percent. But, the second report pointed up a very real problem that has long been evident to me: While the Information Department of Chinese Foreign Ministry claims that they will facilitate more freedom for journalists in China in China, as well as better as a better working environment, they are not happy with the tenor of news getting attention: Top media officials blame leading news agencies for irresponsible negative reports about China. China is, without a doubt, the country the press and bloggers residing in and outside of it, love to hate. If my server numbers and Technorati links to stories are any indication of media sentiment it is clear that the stories most often picked up by Western sources are those that criticize China. I do have to point out that China has, without question, mastered media manipulation and spin as well as any American White House staffer. Following the Taiwan earthquake, that crippled banking and interpersonal dealings with the West, some Chinese media reported that the cause of the log jam was America. Yes, the U.S. has, according to some sources, has created such a dependence on the Internet Hutong that the earthquake is less to blame than is America for the billions of Yuan lost to six broken data lines. So, there is no shortage of media demonization strategies for adversaries here either. I have always tried my best, in this blog and in news reports, to fairly portray and adequately honor the culture I have adopted as home. It is less a fear of reprisal and more my deep love for China and its potential that keep me trying to expose the good as well as the bad. There are plenty of spectacular things to write about that don’t involve boundary issues, poverty, uprisings, censorship, religious oppression or catastrophe. Those negative news stories exist everywhere in some form. My positive human interest stories, save the Ms Yue report about her cancer (which also criticized and partially blamed the pollution in China for her disease), have garnered little attention. The fund- raising effort for The League of Extraordinary Women, all but one of whom are now in relapse, has twice failed because purchases of products have not exceeded $150.00 USD. If it is our expectation that China is to be a good global citizen, and if it is China’s desire to earn respect as a member of that community, then media from both East and West will have to be more balanced in their reporting of events–bloggers as well. Many journalists would do well to take lessons from the likes of The China Law Blog,Tim Johnson and the authors of Virtual China, among others. They don’t cut China any slack, but they can see the proverbial forest for the trees. Let’s see who syndicates this post….

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