Fake cardboard bun news tarnishes media image

Updated: 2007-07-20 14:47

BEIJING -- China's journalist association has condemned the act of fabricating news following the revelation that the report on dumplings stuffed with cardboard aired on Chinese television was proved fake.

The All-China Journalists' Association (ACJA) on Thursday night released a statement criticizing journalists involved in the fabricated report, saying it "severely violated journalistic ethics and severely tarnished the image and social credibility of Chinese media".

It carried on to say the report had "severely ruined the reputation of the State" and made society "astonished and angry".

"The ACJA, on behalf of journalism professionals all over the country, strongly condemn the news fabrication and requires the media circle to take feasible and cogent measures to put an end to news fabrication," the statement said.

"Authenticity is the lifeblood of journalism and ensuring authenticity of news reports is the basic professional ethic of journalists and a social responsibility which journalists must bear," said the ACJA statement.

It also cited a rumour about bananas in Hainan containing a SARS-like virus earlier this year, which caused losses of up to 20 million yuan (US$2.6 million) a day, as an example of the consequences of news fabrication.

"The existence of fabricated news is humiliating for the Chinese media circle. Fabricated news, which disturb normal production, social order and cause severe economic losses and baneful social effects, is not allowed by laws, regulations and journalistic ethics," said the statement

"The journalists involved in the fake report on cardboard dumplings should be harshly punished," said the statement.

"The public relies on the media to find out what is happening and make basic judgments on their lives accordingly. Once the foundation of the public's judgement is proved fake, the media's social credibility will be ruined," said Zhou Qing'an, professor of Qinghua University.

"The content of news is no different from historical fact," Zhou cited Cai Yuanpei, one of China's most influential scholars in the early 20th century, as saying, stressing the importance of the authenticity of news.

Although angles and stances of news reporting can be different, a faithful attitude towards the facts should never be changed, he said.

Only by adopting this attitude can the media be qualified and justified to safeguard public interest and be fearless when being challenged and questioned," he concluded.

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