The slugfest between China and the U.S. over the treatment of media workers in each country appears to have paused. Rather than expel each other’s journalists, as they did a few months ago, each side in early July imposed registration and reporting requirements on those remaining—still many more Chinese in the U.S. than Americans in…
Washington, D.C., March 2, 2020 — The U.S. government should immediately suspend efforts to effectively expel dozens of Chinese journalists and put a halt to mutual retaliation over media operations, which threatens to undermine the free flow of information as the COVID-19 epidemic spreads throughout the world, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Twenty nine-year-old photographer Abubaker Lubowa was excited when he was assigned to cover the campaign of opposition leader Kizza Besigye. He told CPJ he did not anticipate that the assignment would mean he would make the news almost as often as he covered it.
China’s journalists and bloggers, already under threat of persecution, face new risks from November 1, when amendments to the country’s criminal law come into effect. Under the amendment, passed in August by legislative body the National People’s Congress, those convicted of spreading false news about disasters or epidemics will face harsh penalties.
Attempts to rein in microblogs like Sina Weibo are a huge part of China’s sophisticated information control strategy these days. However, news reports last week serve as a reminder that propaganda authorities also rely on methods that are more old school.
Will China’s quickly expanding media presence in Africa result in a fresh, alternative, and balanced perspective on the continent–much as Al-Jazeera altered the broadcast landscape with the launch of its English service in 2006–or will it be essentially an exercise in propaganda?