By David Bandurski — Over the weekend, the official party daily newspaper of Tieling, one of the largest cities in China’s northern Liaoning province, celebrated its fortieth anniversary. The official news release on the anniversary of this local party newspaper offers an unexceptional but nevertheless interesting glimpse at the dynamics of CONTROL and CHANGE in China’s media.
The news release focusses, first and foremost, on propaganda discipline (CONTROL) and the paper’s role as the voice of CCP officials at the city level. It is considered a mark of excellence that the paper has “held steadfastly these forty years to correct guidance of public opinion.”
This first section, then, is a reminder that the unshakeable principle governing China’s media today remains: “the party runs the media” (党管传媒).
[ABOVE: The April 25, 2009, edition of Liaoning Evening Post runs news of the 40-year anniversary of Tieling Daily.]
Nevertheless, CHANGE has happened in China’s media, with commercialization and the rise of the Internet being two major contributing factors.
In the second portion of the news release on the newspaper’s anniversary, Tieling Daily is praised for moving forward with commercial reforms, which encompass enterprise-style management and business tie-ups with other local and regional media (“integration of news assets”).
It should be noted that these commercial reforms, which fall under the general category of “cultural industry reforms” (文化体制改革), are not meant to be a challenge in any way to the principles of CONTROL stated above. [SEE ALSO Hu Jintao’s “Three Closenesses” policy.]
Tieling Daily Marks 40 Years (《铁岭日报》纪念创刊40周年)
On April 24, Tieling Daily celebrated its 40th birthday, and the newspaper held a proud celebration in honor of the occasion. As an organ newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party in Tieling, Tieling Daily has, under the correct leadership of the city’s party committee, held steadfastly these forty years to correct guidance of public opinion, deeply propagated the party’s lines, principles and policies, faithfully recorded the historical process of vigorous social and economic development [in Tieling], earnestly eulogized the achievements of building a new and great Tieling, truthfully reflected the voices and demands of the masses in Tieling, and served as a spiritual impetus and public opinion support for promotoing the scientific development, harmonious development and striding development in Tieling.
Particularly over the past year, under the correct leadership and support of the CCP at the provincial and city levels, [the paper has] carried out strategic and cross-regional cooperation with the Liaoning Newspaper Group (辽报集团), and has succeeded in cooperating to publish the Tieling edition of the Liaoshen Evening Post (辽沈晚报), setting a [historical] precedent in national cultural industry reform (全国文化体制改革) by becoming a successful example of regional resource integration (区域整合资源). Whether it has been in integration news assets or in raising the quality of the newspaper, whether it has been in stabilizing economic benefits or elevating the behavior of its work force, whether it has been in publishing a full-color newspaper or in launching a “skinny edition” (瘦报) [NOTE: This is a tabloid-sized paper of dimensions 1:1.629], [Tieling Daily has] not only achieved clear results but has drawn a powerful response within the industry.
[Posted by David Bandurski, April 27, 2009, 2:50pm HK]