Freedom of Press

Freedom of press in China. A lot of it is controlled, and what you may read is potentially biased.

Forced confessions, torture and false testimonies; common in the Chinese press. A lot of what the Chinese population reads, is controlled. The situation has gotten so out of hand; The International Federation of Journalists started a program in 2008 to monitor the violation of media rights. IFJ said: “the situation has steadily grown worse since Xi Jinping became President of China in 2013”.

An example of this would be of the recent story of Peter Jesper Dahlin, a Swedish rights activist who ‘confessed’ on China TV. He apparently confessed to have “worked for an illegal organization that sponsored activities that jeopardized China’s national security”. Family and friends have ruled out this confession as false, ridiculous and absurd. Followers of him claim that he was forced to do so, or that it was scripted.  Dave Crewhorn, a supporter of free speech said “This confession is completely false and I think he was tortured by the Chinese government.”

However some argue that he is a threat.  In the interview, he said he worked with Su Chanlan, a women’s rights activist and Xing Qinxian, activist, and lawyer, Wang Quanzhang. Rachel Tong, expert in education said “Don’t be absurd! No torture was involved, there’s no way the Chinese government would allow it.”

The idea of torture is not probable, but it’s not out of the question. An independent journalist called Gao Yu, made a confession after police threatened to prosecute her son. The IFJ said that her case was a landmark showing how the authorities, on one hand, chant that China is a country governed by the rule of law, while, on the other hand, law enforcement officers violate proper legal procedures.

“China’s a very complex country and its legal system is closely bound up in its history . There are lots of issues still in what is considered acceptable and this obviously has major implications for its legal systems. Many of the things we may not consider a crime can be viewed very differently for different cultures.” This was said by Henry Wright, an expert in cultural affairs.

For many, the idea of torture sickens them, but in China, it is a technique to get a confession. Yet, we don’t know how fair the Chinese newspapers are being. The way the government manipulates the press means we won’t get a fair argument. The sources they use are very biased and we don’t know who to trust. Journalists get arrested for writing the truth. Is this how journalists want to be seen as?

by Eleonora

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