The People’s Republic of China
The people’s republic of China (PRC) is technology savvy. It has invested widely in the television industry. 35% of the population has access to television. The television industry is heavily watched by the central government. TV stations are not independent in the country. That is they cannot air what they like. Like the Internet, they are censored by the government. This is because the government allows them to carry as much social material as they want. But when it comes to political communication they are curtailed. The television networks cannot report on police brutality. Also, they cannot report on unrests in the country (Benjamin, 2005).
The Television Networks
The leading television network is the CCTV. It is a state owned corporation and employs about 10,000 people. It cannot air foreign programs. The contents of the TV broadcasts are examined by state officials on a regular basis. The TV station is closely watched by the propaganda department. It is under the scrutiny from the state department of the administration of Radio, Film and television. The chairman of the TV station is a deputy minister in the ministry of the administration of Radio, film and television. Thus, the TV industry is closely watched so that it cannot air anything that can advance the freedom of expression in the country. The other media like newspapers cannot also be used to advance the freedom of speech and expression (Benjamin, 2005).
Radio talk shows are slowly and systematically transforming the freedom of expression and speech in China. Most Radio stations have become liberal and are reporting on subjects that are considered taboo by the other media. Radio talk shows have become the ground on which millions of people talk back to the government. This is because the country has seen the proliferation of Radio stations in the last one decade. The Radio stations have become an avenue through which the people can at least have a measure of political freedom of expression. The other media are used by the state machinery to talk to the people. Radio provides a platform on which people talk back to the government. This does not mean that radio has a free hand to air what it wants. Freedom of expression continues to be suppressed in China on a day to day basis. China is one country that has consistently refused to grant a platform for the expression of fair speech (Guan, 1995).
Newspapers and Media
Newspapers in China have not been able to cut through government restrictions. They are still under gags that make it impossible for them to report on anything that is politically sensitive. The dominant newspapers are socialist party papers that report more on social issues than on political matters. This is because to report on political issues is suicidal to a newspaper in China. Today there are 2200 daily papers in China. State agencies have authority to edit and censor news from foreign newspapers (Guan, 1995).
The western media are heavily censored in mainland China. This is in an attempt to stifle the freedom of speech. This is because the Chinese government understands the power of the media in opening up countries formerly locked in suppression of the freedom of speech. For example, the western media have been instrumental in opening up Burma to the international community. In China western journalists are restricted from entering the country. If they manage to enter the country, they meet severe restrictions. China is determined to continue the suppression of the freedom of speech .One of the most effective ways of doing this is the restriction of the western media in the country (Collins, 2002).
China has the longest record on the suppression of the freedom of speech. The paper has gone into details about how the government of China has stifled the media. This is because people cannot have freedom of speech when what they say cannot be reported in the media. The Chinese government has also censored the Internet. The Internet is the most efficient way of communicating globally. The Chinese government understands this, and that is why it cannot allow search engines like Google to operate freely in the country (Cohn, 2007).
The freedom of speech is essential to the development of any country. Most countries that used to curtail the freedom of speech have changed and are now allowing the said freedom. The media have been liberalized in most parts of the country. One of the most conservative countries has given in to a free and independent media that are central to freedom of speech. This is none other than Russia. Other countries have followed suit. Thus, there is no reason why the world’s largest nation can continue to stifle the freedom of expression (Yuezhi, 1998).
The governments of the world should rise and challenge China to give political space to its citizens. They should pressurize China to give freedom of speech to its citizens. This is because China is a signatory to international charter on freedom of speech.
China also sits on the security council of the UN.Being a nation thus esteemed; it must also esteem its citizens by giving them the freedom of speech. Only in this way will it be able to prove to the world that it is worthy to sit on the security council of the UN.It will prove to all and sundry that it is serious when signing international treaties.
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