How they direct the media — Chinese style

Blacklisted News has a neat little Toronto Star’s article on China’s Central Propaganda Department whose meetings the major media editors have to attend:

Scholars say that aside from the People’s Liberation Army – which is directly accountable to the Communist Party of China – there is no more powerful and important administrative branch than the sprawling, bureaucratic establishment known as the Central Propaganda Department.

At the meetings, usually held Fridays, 20 to 30 editors make the pilgrimage and are told which stories they must emphasize, which must be downplayed and what topics are off-limits.

In addition, editors-in-chief regularly receive a stream of specific instructions via email: not only on what to write, but how much, how stories should be laid out and what articles must be removed from websites.

Those who flout the system can be fired.

Following the Friday meetings, the editors return to their offices Monday and pass the instructions on to their department heads, who then pass them to staff.

Seasoned editors note that 90 per cent of Chinese papers are filled with entertainment and sports and lighter fare that the propaganda department couldn’t care less about.

“They’re only interested in controlling news about politics and current affairs,” Li says.

I hope all my readers understand that Western media is under more or less similar control and has been for more than fifty years at least. Though I wouldn’t bet they only care about controlling the coverage about politics and current affairs over here (they can and probably do promote things like race-mixing even while covering sports for example.. and surely they do that with celebrity coverage).

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