Media censorship is the tool used by regimes to suppress people. At the sight of danger to power, establishments resort to suppression of information flow to nip any uprising in its bud. Censorship in any form is not conducive to an evolving society. China’s headline grabbing media censorship is no different, let’s find out why.
10. Encroachment on freedom of speech:
Living in the 21st century, one would feel that there are certain basic human rights which are sacrosanct. But that seems to be a fallacy when it comes to something as rudimentary as the freedom of speech in China. It is severely encroached upon as media is censored in that country. When people are not allowed to speak the truth or disclose their opinions; freedom in essence is violated and hence this censorship isn’t conducive to the overall growth of the society.
9. Invasion of personal space:
It is said that China has over 2,800 Short Message Service surveillance centres. An individual runs the risk of having their text messaging service cut if the “content” doesn’t suit the watch dogs. There were incidents when many Chinese people were arrested for sending messages about SARS during its severe outbreak in 2003. Such paranoid machinery just goes to hamper democracy and also invade the personal space of common men.
8. Misconstruing of history for future generations:
It has been reported or rather spoken in hushed tones that educational institutions in China have whitewashed the PRC history corresponding to controversial historical events. This is again very much a part of the media censorship. History should be taught and read as such to maintain the sanctity of the very reason of studying it. Altering history and further teaching that adulterated version to the future generations leads to painting a false picture and misapprehending of times gone by.
7. Detrimental to reforms:
China is a single-party state under collective leadership. This is perhaps the reason why censorship was introduced to maintain the rule of the Communist Party of China. With this kind of regressive agenda, reforms take a back seat unless the Government deems it fit. Censorship prevents people from exploring options or alternatives which could be better for the country, leading to an environment hostile for improvements.
6. Prevents honest reporting:
Journalists in China have to mince their words and often refrain from printing the truth due to the intolerant censorship prevalent. But this is the complete antithesis of a progressive country; at least in terms of intellectual freedom. The freedom of press is the holy grail of Journalism and media. But that very essential is non-existent in China. If liberty to report is encroached upon the basic nuance of this profession is trampled upon and it is as good as non-existent.
5. Economic protectionism:
Censorship in China is used as a means for economic protectionism. A few years back, the website of the French organization Observatoire International des Crises was banned after it published a post about the risks of trading with China. Its ploy of banning Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, is nothing but a means to first prevent anything against the state from being accessible to the Chinese population and the second to aid Chinese websites flourish. In a cosmopolitan world, this is nothing but isolationism.
4. Masked dictatorship:
Censorship is everywhere in China be it newspapers, television, books, video games or even SMS. One look at the ifs and buts which the Chinese people are required to adhere to makes us wonder if it isn’t a dictator that is ruling the country. Any form of government which forces its unreasonable diktats on people in the name of control is detrimental to the country’s health in the long run.
3. Filtered information:
There are several channels which are banned in China as the Government their fears the rhetoric that would reach the common people if not for media censorship. And it is not only channels but books and musicians too. But it is not up to the Government to impose these restrictions on people. In January 2009, a television report on U.S. President Barack Obama was brusquely cut at the whim of the Chinese Government. The choice should be of the people and not of the Government.
2. Misuse of government power:
Figures from December last year (2012) suggest that after Iran and Turkey, China is next in the list of countries with the most jailed journalists. This is not the sign of a country that wants all round progress and growth. It is injurious to the free and unrestricted flow of information in the public domain. With the Government misusing its power by suing, imposing fines, demoting or even imprisoning journalists, the general populace suffer in their own country as second grade citizens.
1. Unhealthy propaganda:
The media in China is under the jurisdiction of the State Administration for Radio, Film and Television (SARFT). It controls the material to which a common Chinese individual is exposed to. This is nothing but a ploy by the Chinese State to feed the common man with half-truths and concocted news and programs to prevent any rebuttal of its policies. There is a fear in the Government that external and unchecked media would give the Chinese the avenue to contemplate alternative modes of Governments. So this media censorship is a preventive tool used by the Sate to devoid the Chinese people of that recourse.