Den Store Firewall: Internet og debat i Kina

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Internettet / Journalistik / Medier / Politik

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Væk med ytringsfriheden. Afskaf den og gør medierne frie, skriver de 23 højtstående medlemmer af Kinas Kommunistparti i et åbent brev. Det har jeg fortalt om her i et interview med en af medunderskriverne.

Brevet cirkulerede på internettet i Kina. Men censuren gjorde, hvad den kunne for at slette den. Det lykkedes dog ikke, men det er et godt eksempel på, hvordan netop censur og den offentlige mening fungerer i Kina.

Her få du tre links til videre læsning.

Har journalisterne rettigheder i Kina? Ja, formelt. Men ikke i realiteten. Det viser en ny rapport fra Committee to Protect Journalists som Guardian skriver om her:

News stories that cast a critical light on business owners, academics or local police for harassing reporters are sanctioned, even encouraged, by the Chinese government. At the same time, the internet, which is increasingly used by Chinese journalists to spread the word about their own tribulations, provides a vehicle for media activism.

These factors can combine to produce genuinely positive results. In September, police in Beijing arrested a prominent urologist for ordering attacks on two science writers whose reporting he believed had thwarted an academic appointment. According to one of those journalists, Caijing magazine’s Fang Xuanchang, a blog post about the attack sparked the public outcry that prompted the police to investigate.

Men myndighederne får stadig større problemer med censuren på internettet, der er den vigtigste platform for debat i Kina. De vil bruge nettet til at få global indflydelse. Men vil samtidig kun have de statskontrollerede holdninger i cyberspace. Det giver enorme spændinger og dårlig omtale – både indenfor Kina og udenfor – hver gang at der store sager, som bliver censurerede. Som for eksempel brevet fra de 23 partimedlemmer. Derfor tror Johan Lagerkvist fra svenske Utrikespolitiska Institutet ikke, at Den Store Firewall har langt igen:

Every act of censorship attracts negative publicity, reducing international standing. Diligence turns to the absurd: Chinese officials recently censored even the offhand remarks by China’s Premier Wen Jiabao. To be effective, censors in the world’s second largest economy would have to eliminate the essential modern tool. Inquisitive youth test boundaries, and pragmatic leaders may eventually realize that, for promoting stability, allowing the battle of ideas is a better bet than repression.

The normative change and the impacts of two contrasting types of internet use in the end will force the monopolies on information and political power to succumb to the people’s power of civil society, with variegated social forces of every hue and nuance. First, the impact of news-sharing and the mobilizing activities of the vanguard of the micro-blogosphere, and second, the more mundane, everyday use by individuals that constitute Chinese officialdom will continue to grow. The members of these groups are Chinese “netizens” and they share a common goal: They enjoy the internet.

Taken together, the young officials and the young social-media activists are what ultimately in a pincer movement will unravel the current social contract on internet use and its utilitarian function to serve state ends.

Artiklen, som du kan læse på YaleGlobal, er også en god gennemgang af medierne, internettet og censur, så man med rette kan spørge – hvordan er det så, at den offentlige mening bliver dannet i Kina? Det kan man læse i en kinesisk artikel, som David Bandurski og China Media Project netop har oversat.

Artiklen viser, hvordan nye medier og internettet i de seneste ti år har ændret mekanismerne for den offentlige debat. Her er David Bandurskis optakt til artiklen:

Much research on the transformations in China’s media landscape is now available from communications scholars inside China. And while much of this research is overgeneralized (looking expansively at the impact of commercialization, for example), repetitive (the ubiquitous thesis paper looking quantitatively at “negative” coverage of China in the Western press) and ideological (failing to look critically at the role of the government or at its policies), it can often provide us with some good general bearings in looking at media change in China.

The following paper suffers from all of the aforementioned faults. There are thousands of other papers like it, all talking in general terms about the changes new media have brought to China’s traditional media landscape — and to the process of agenda setting, or yicheng shezhi (议程设置). It makes naive assumptions — because it must? — about shows of openness by Party and government leaders. Was the “eluding the cat” affair of 2009, in which a team of “internet users” was cobbled together to “investigate” a case of wrongful death, really a simple demonstration of the power of the internet and a gesture of official openness? Or was it a propaganda sideshow that nevertheless tells us how the internet can shape news stories and how the government deals with them?

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Hurtige klik fra Kina af Kim Rathcke Jensen. Jeg er journalist og BA i kinesisk. Jeg bor i Beijing, hvor jeg arbejder som Politikens korrespondent i Kina og Asien.

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