Across Continents

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Propaganda or spin

December 28th, 2010

CD  montage - web

Chinese State controlled media is overwhelmingly positive in its portrayal of issues. Analysis is rarely critical, television presenters and journalists invariably carefully leading those being interviewed. Commentators who do offer negative opinions normally do so indirectly, avoiding criticism of what has happened, instead suggesting how things might be done differently in the future.

That is not to say that English language media like the "China Daily" newspaper doesn’t carry fundamentally negative stories, accounts of illegal "black" jails for example. But the focus is invariably on the positive. Resolution of the issue, punishment of offenders, as befits the matter. Stories which, incidentally, have often already featured in foreign news media.

To be fair, the boundary between propaganda and spin is a blurred one. The choice dependent on both the country in question, and the reader’s own political agenda. And selective reporting, especially that self-imposed by journalists, may as much reflect the media’s owners as the political climate of the country. It’s just that the former is rarely described as censorship.

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