Listening Post
Pushing the limits of Chinese journalism
Reporters are finding ways to produce some high quality, muckraking journalism in the world's largest one-party state.
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2012 12:45

When the world pays attention to Chinese journalism, it is usually for the wrong reasons. The Paris-based press freedom group, Reporters Without Borders, ranks China as the sixth most repressive media environment in the world.

Chinese reporters and the outlets they work for are routinely written off as mere government mouthpieces.

The Communist Party does maintain a tight grip in most areas, but media production in China has exploded over the past three decades, and with that has come new competition for readers, viewers and revenues. That has given rise to a new kind of investigative reporting.

News outlets have found that, like anywhere else, exposing wrongdoing and unearthing the odd scandal can be good for business. Investigative reporting in China is not without its limits or risks. But China is no longer the journalistic black hole it once was.

Listening Post’s Meenakshi Ravi looks at the grey areas, and the reporters finding ways to produce some high quality, muckraking journalism in the world's largest one-party state.

"They tolerate investigative journalism, as long as it stays within certain limits. So there's a pragmatic acceptance on behalf of the Chinese authorities that if you've got journalists who know what the rules are and editors who know what the rules are, they feel that there's a system that they can work with. But journalists also understand that if they step outside those limits then they may lose their jobs, eventually newspapers could lose their license."

Kevin Latham, a senior lecturer at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London


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