Medier i Kina: Falske nyheder og strammere regler for erhvervs-pressen

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Erhverv / Journalistik / Medier

IMG_4816_200x150.shkl.JPG Hvordan går det egentlig for journalistikken i Kina? Det er der kommet to gode artikler om i de seneste par dage, som viser to af problemerne for de kinesiske medier.

Den første er fra magasinet Caixin. En af forudsætningerne for Kinas voksende økonomi har i de seneste cirka 15 år været, at erhvervsmedierne har haft så nogenlunde frie hænder i Kina. Det har myndighederne i Beijing forstået. Indtil nu.

Aktieindekset i Shanghai falder, huspriserne er ved at boble over og inflation og fødevarepriser stiger. Ikke godt. For der går en direkte linje mellem det og social uro. Og derfor er der kommet nye retningslinjer for især de trykte medier, som Caixin skriver:

The financial press is instructed to exercise caution in reporting any news that may affect investor expectations and the orderly functioning of the stock and futures markets. Government policies for securities and futures must be handled with utmost care; information on listed companies must be checked by the companies involved before publication. Outside contribution of market commentaries can only be submitted by licensed brokerages. The rules also put restrictions on citing information from foreign media. In addition, publications are responsible for checking whether advertisers are legitimate businesses.

Og de nye retningslinjer får vidtrækkende konsekvenser. Som Caixin skriver, så svarer det så nogenlunde til at bede erhvervs-pressen om at opføre sig som en struds og stikke hovedet i et hul i jorden:

China has over 2,000 securities analysts, churning out more than 600 research reports on any given day when the market is open. They rarely, if ever, disclose conflicts of interest. It is also unheard of that they sound any alarms over possible wrong-doing or suspicious accounting practices of listed companies. Why should they? Muck-raking is not their job. When they dish out advice, they often have a vested interest in the outcome. In a free marketplace of information, they can slug it out with freelancers and bloggers. These new rules reserve the forum in the print press exclusively for them, thus making the financial media their mouthpiece.

The news media are often expected to act as anti-corruption watchdogs and to protect the interest of investors. Journalists are already in uphill battles to do investigative reporting. Companies always want to build a fortress against snooping journalists; their powerful public relations machinery will work non-stop to put pressure on journalists with tactics ranging from slipping them a thick wad of cash to threatening them with lawsuits and personal attacks. Regulators, instead of encouraging the news media to help patrol the corporate world, are making investigative tasks more difficult. Celebrated cases of exposing insider trading in the property firm Qiong Min Yuan (琼民源) and the abuses of investment funds that sent crooks to jails in the past decade will be more difficult to pursue under the current rules, unless these rules are being made to be ignored.

Under this latest directive, imprudent citation of the foreign media could run afoul of the watchdogs. This call for filtering out potentially dissonant voices is like an ostrich burying its head in the sand.

Kina har i høj grad brug for det modsatte. En moderne og voksende økonomi som den kinesiske har brug for en kritisk og uafhængig erhvervspresse. Bare tænk på pressen i eksempelvis USA og England, der under finanskrisen er kommet med vigtige afsløringer og afdækninger af for eksempel bankerne.

Hverken erhvervsmedier eller andre dele af pressen har frie hænder i Kina. Og med propaganda, censur og den kommercielle presse, så er mængden af “falske nyheder” vokset i de seneste to årtier, som China Media Project (CMP) skriver i dag:

By some accounts, “fake news”, or xujia xinwen (虚假新闻), has plagued news media in China since at least the Cultural Revolution, at which time media fabricated news to suit the political purposes of the Gang of Four. Chinese government officials, however, deny definitions of the term that lump in state propaganda, and the allegation of “fake news” can often signal action against news seen to violate propaganda restrictions — news, in other words, that is too true.

Over the past twenty years, as economic reforms have moved rapidly ahead, the problem of “fake news” has certainly grown more serious. Many officials and academics point to the commercialization of media industry and intensified market competition as the root causes.

Sørg for at læse hele artiklen på CMP, hvor du også får historien om kvinden, der på kun fire dage kørte 2.000 kilometer på en motorcykel, fordi hu bare måtte se sin seks-årige søn. Hvis historien altså passer?

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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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