Journalism and Censorship

Throughout your college career in the CJ department, you’re going to be faced with the ethical “what-ifs”.  We’re taught to analyze and make the decisions for ourselves.  To me, this obligation to make a decision is a luxury.  Not everywhere in the world do journalists have the opportunity to decide for themselves what is “right”.  While browsing my regular news websites today, I came across an article on ABC’s website with the headline, “China Police Apologize to Hard-Hitting Magazine”.

Uh-oh.  What is the Chinese government up to this time?

Essentially, the article in question “described the lucrative business of illegally apprehending citizens who try to file complaints with the central government”.  Sounds like an awfully important issue pertinent to a lot of people.  For an American journalist, the question of whether or not to cover this story would not even be debatable.  We know that it is our duty to inform the American public about what is happening in their country.  However, what is it like to be a journalist in a country where the media is completely controlled by the government, where even the average person’s email is subject to monitoring by central government?  The ABC article also states that the magazine is known for pushing its luck with the government. 

Since I haven’t spent any time in China, I can’t claim to know the risks of printing anti-government material (or what could be perceived as such).  But at the very least, this indicates that in China (and assumably various other countries) the public is not hearing much of the most important news.  A classic example of censorship taken to the extreme.

So as a journalist, how far would you go to deliver your message to your audience? — Brita Dallmann

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