Sunday, March 30, 2008

Journalistic Conscience

With the Tibet situation in the last few weeks, I heard some foreign experts in state media were refusing to participate in the government's propaganda drive.

Many newspapers, and radio and television broadcasts are telling mostly one-sided stories about the riots, saying the victims were Han Chinese and showing images of monks and Tibetans brandishing swords and destroying shops.

At one English-language newspaper, some foreign staff refused to edit or even touch Tibet-related stories which they considered outright lies, while others doing voice overs for TV news stories pushed the work onto others in the name of journalistic integrity.

But not everyone can avoid their duties, like those whose jobs it is to read out the news and must read the script exactly as it's written.

Luckily I haven't had to deal with this situation, but I would probably refuse to work on stories that I didn't consider balanced or at least correct.

It's one thing to work for state media, where guidelines are clear on how things should be reported, but quite another to be an accomplice to a media machine churning out stories that aren't true.

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