Opinion / Opinion Line

Celebrities should be discreet for public good

(China Daily) Updated: 2015-04-10 08:08

Celebrities should be discreet for public good

Former Argentine player and coach Diego Maradona, left, hugs Chinese TV host Bi Fujian during a charity banquet in Beijing, China, 4 November 2010. [Photo/IC]

An online video clip in which Bi Fujian, a popular host with China Central Television, used vulgar terms against late Chairman Mao Zedong while singing Peking Opera at a dinner, has become a hit on the Internet after being released on Monday. In the aftermath, Bi's TV programs will reportedly stop being broadcast until at least Sunday, and his employer CCTV has promised to investigate the incident. Comments:

Admittedly, a citizen does enjoy freedom of speech, yet others also have the right to criticize his or her remarks. Famous host or not, Bi is entitled to free speech, even if it is false, and shall not be held legally accountable as long as his words do not violate any laws. However, this does not mean that he can walk away with impunity, as he still has to deal with public doubts about his improper words.

Zhi Zhenfeng, a guest commentator with Legal Daily, April 8

Celebrities like Bi are supposed to be more discreet with their remarks in the era of instant communications. Otherwise, their reputation might easily be tainted by some careless words from their own mouths. "Public figures" who intentionally make a controversial comment in public or private are not worth following at all. Indeed, all citizens should be allowed to speak freely and most enjoy this right. But in today's society, people should voice their totally unclad expressions into "tree holes", not the public ears.

Tu Hongchang, a commentator with Xinhua News Agency, April 9

As a public figure, he should also be very careful while making an off-the-record comment for the sake of his public image. By postponing Bi's programs, CCTV made a fair decision to reduce the negative effects that Bi's private words may have on it.

Tuo Xingang, a guest commentator with Changsha Evening Newspaper, April 9

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