Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Reforms prove media accusations wrong

By Wu Yixue (China Daily) Updated: 2014-05-17 07:32

No matter how powerful a censorship infrastructure a country has, it cannot filter all the information circulating in the real and virtual worlds today. But when it comes to China, the West has been promoting a perception to the contrary.

At the recent celebration to mark the 21st anniversary of the establishment of the World Press Freedom Day, a handful of Western journalists once again alleged that there was a low degree of press freedom in China, the authorities often tried to prevent foreign journalists from doing their "job", and urged the Chinese government to respect and protect their freedom to interview anybody they wanted to.

A report by Reporters Without Borders, published in the World Press Freedom Index for 2014 in February, lists China as one of the worst countries in terms of press freedom, ranking it 175th among 180 countries. Prone to looking at the world through tinted glasses, the RWB has been publishing such press freedom ratings every year since 2002. And needless to say, ulterior motives and lack of the reality on the ground have prompted it to always keep China at the bottom-end of the list.

Anyone with even a little knowledge about China's development over the past more than three decades, especially its accelerated reform and opening-up maneuvers in recent years, will disagree with the RWB's attempt to demonize China.

The third United Nations General Assembly passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Dec 10, 1948. The declaration says all countries are required to respect and protect their citizens' human rights, including freedom of speech. As a UN member (in fact, as one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council), China has made consistent and in most cases successful efforts to abide by UN declarations, resolutions and conventions.

As a part of freedom of speech, the spirit of press freedom has been increasingly respected and protected in China, both for Chinese and foreign journalists. For example, to make it easier for foreign journalists to cover the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, the Chinese government issued a special regulation granting them freedom to conduct interviews without any restrictions. It is exactly because of such government efforts that we have seen foreign journalists interviewing people at the sites of major events, including mass incidents, without restrictions or resistance.

Were it not for such freedom, how could the foreign media report the negative aspects about China from inside the country?

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