Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Journalist Expelled From China For the First Time Since 1998

What does this say about the state of journalism in nations like China, where the media is tightly-controlled?

Last week, China's expulsion of American reporter Melissa Chan, who worked for the pan-Arab news network Al-Jazeera, sparked a mass of debate from both journalists and the government alike. Melissa Chan is the first foreign journalist to be expelled from China since 1998.

Al-Jazeera has come out with a statement that this move by the Chinese government is yet another tool of keeping its international image clean amongst the flurry of authoritarian complaints that exist both in and out of the country.

Coming from a country like the United States, where the freedom of speech is explicitly protected in the 1st Amendment, and where these occurrences are few and far between, it is interesting to see the effect that journalism has on countries like China.

Oftentimes we do not realize the luxuries we have that exist in the platforms of expression that are readily available to us. Would news stations like Fox News and MSNBC -- two networks that are clear in their political leaning and censor little to prove that point -- even stand a chance aganist the government in China?

While in China, Melissa Chan reported on issues that spanned from illegal seizures of farmland to the imprisonment of petitioners. Though these news may not shine brightly on the actions of the Chinese government, they are certainly not in violation of any type of journalistic or governmental breach. It is simply the news. She was simply doing her job.

In fact, the United States government investigated on her work and discovered that Chan had violated no Chinese laws by her method of reporting.

Cultural relativity not withstanding, it is powerful how influential journalism can be in the face of a power like China.

Read the full article here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/al-jazeera-says-journalist-expelled-from-china-first-foreign-reporter-kicked-out-since-1998/2012/05/08/gIQA7ZeeBU_story.html

1 comment:

  1. You've picked a really interesting story, especially given that we were looking at how footage from Al Jazeera is assembled from multiple sources, including on-the-scene reporting by journalists like Chan. Rather than the broad generalizations about freedom of the press, which you present here, I might want to hear about Chan's career, since it sounds like she is bridging a number of cultural identities while still maintaining a reporting style of neutral objectivity. What can we learn from her that will help us understand possible career paths or styles of digital journalism?