In an opinion-laden news piece yesterday, China’s official Xinhua News Agency attacked what it called the “outlook on journalism in Western countries,” saying the ongoing phone hacking scandal in Britain has exposed as false all of the West’s pretensions to freedom, impartiality and human rights.
It goes without saying that the Xinhua piece itself, stripped of all nuance and serving the narrow objectives of China’s Marxist View of Journalism, is an illustration of much that is wrong with Chinese journalism. The three central aspects of the Marxist View of Journalism are 1) supporting Chinese Communist Party principles, 2) maintaining “correct guidance of public opinion” (propaganda controls) and, finally, 3) criticizing the “bourgeois concept of free speech.”
The Xinhua article is aspect three in action. A partial translation of the article follows:
“Experts Say ‘Phone Hacking Gate’ Exposes the False Nature of Outlook on Journalism on Western Countries“
Xinhua News Agency
July 19, 2011
Recently, News of the World, a newspaper under News Corporation, was shut down as a result of the phone hacking scandal. Some experts in Beijing and Shanghai believe that this incident directly exposes the inherent money-seeking nature of Western media today, and the false nature of the concepts of “freedom”, “impartiality” and “human rights” that they have long bandied about. As the scandal has continued to develop, it has become a major assault on the model of media supervision and control in the West.
“Phone Hacking Gate” Has Been a Shock for the Outlook on Journalism in Western Countries
Chen Xiang’an (陈湘安), the CEO of 116.com.cn, said, “The ‘phone hacking scandal’ exposes the deficit of professional ethics among news professionals in Western media. This phone hacking scandal involves more than 4,000 victims, and the type of behavior shown by News of the World has already broken through the ethical floor, constituting illegal conduct.”
Experts believe that all along Western media and Western countries have always held up the banners of “freedom” and “human rights” to cast blame on other countries. But one result of this “phone hacking scandal” is certainly a massive attack on the outlook on journalism in Western countries and [their claim to] superiority.
The “phone hacking scandal” has thoroughly exposed the inherent money-seeking nature of Western media. Ling Haoying (凌昊莹), an associate professor of media economy at the Communication University of China (CUC), said the News of the World hacking scandal shows that many Western media, including News of the World and the Sun newspaper, are about profit-seeking, and this profit-seeking orientation makes it difficult to be truly “objective.” Under the current market and news systems of the West, the profit-seeking nature of media means that news reports cannot possibly attain to the “pure independence and objectivity” they boast of, and carrying out self-discipline is extremely difficult for them.