By David Bandurski – Media reform is an indispensable part of the overall process of economic and political reform in China, veteran magazine editor Hu Shuli (胡舒立) told a packed auditorium at the University of Hong Kong last week.
“What do we mean when we say media reforms and economic and political reforms go together? Broadly speaking, we mean the sharing of ideas,” said Hu, who launched Caijing magazine in April 1998 and helped craft it into one of China’s most respected business publications.
Hu’s talk, “Ten Years at Caijing,” was hosted by the China Media Project of the Journalism & Media Studies Centre, where Hu was recently a visiting fellow.
Tracing the development of what she called “relatively independent” and diverse media with a “popular hue” (民间色彩), Hu stressed that while China’s government has “accommodated” changes in the domestic media industry, it has not been a primary motivating factor.
She also disregarded the idea, which she called an “overseas thesis” (外国结论), that the reasons behind China’s growing media diversity were principally economic.
Included on Hu’s short list of relatively independent media dealing with business and the economy were weekly papers like 21st Century Economic Herald (21世纪经济报道) and The Economic Observer (经济观察报), and such magazines as Business Watch Magazine (商务周刊), New Fortune (新财富) and Business (商界).
Among the principle factors spurring the rise of more “independent” media in China, Hu included a strong “tradition of seeking independence” among journalists, the push for financial independence (freedom from government subsidies), the rise of the advertising sector, and Internet growth.
[Posted March 26, 2008, 12:06pm HK]