To follow on from our recent pieces on the Beijing News and the Beijing Times, I’m linking to this brilliant piece in the China Media Project, which clearly outlines the changes taking place in regards to the supervision of these two papers. A must-read for anyone interested in the media landscape of China. The part which really hits the nail on the head is in regards to cross-regional reporting or yidi jiandu (异地监督).
“Basically, yidi jiandu is when a publishing unit in one region, let’s say Guangdong, conducts critical reporting — what is often known as “supervision by public opinion,” or yulun jiandu (舆论监督), which you can think of as a uniquely Chinese form of “watchdog journalism” — on another city or region. They can do this because negative stories from another region do not directly impact the leaders responsible for managing their publication. Remember, for example, that propaganda officials in Guangdong (who effectively control Nanfang Daily) are tasked with maintaining “discipline” on stories affecting the province. If Nanfang Daily editors send reporters off to Guangxi province to report on a local case of corruption, this does not compromise this primary task, and in fact may draw feisty media away from more sensitive local stories.”
That puts the final pieces in the puzzle. Basically, the papers have been shifted to the local media authority, rather than the Guangdong one. This means that they don’t have to go through as many channels to assert control.
Very nice work from the China Media Project, as usual.