On April 21, 2016, the state sponsored Global Times published an editorial entitled “Press Freedom Index Hides Absurd Logic.” Some excerpts:
Journalism advocacy group Reporters Without Borders (RWB) released its World Press Freedom Index Wednesday, ranking China fifth from bottom, and Vietnam just one place higher. The group, while criticizing Asian countries, including South Korea and Japan for deteriorating press freedom, has mainly pointed the finger at China.These screenshots were taken on April 27, 2016, and show that both Baidu and Sina Weibo were censoring search results for “Reporters Without Borders” (无国界记者).
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The constructiveness of journalism is more important than press freedom to developing countries. This constructiveness includes press freedom and supervision of the media, however it must incorporate understanding of different local political and economic development. The purpose of journalism is not to advocate its absolute freedom, but to help advance societal progress in a suitable way.
This theory, seemingly going against press freedom, could easily be misunderstood, but it has been repeatedly proved in the price paid by developing countries.
Admittedly, there is still a lot of room for improvement in China in the expanding scope of news reporting and enhancing information transparency. But when we make progress, we need to get rid of ways of thinking and logic that the West imposes on us.