China Pressures U.S. Journalists, Prompting Warning From Biden

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The article deals with the reaction of the American government to the news that China is in the process of not renewing the visas of over 24 American journalists based in China by the end of this year.  It also provides an overview of what are the causes of these tensions that led to the possibility of not renewing American journalist’s visas in China.  The article describes that the relations between these two countries have more recently been difficult and strained.  For example, the military issues surrounding territories involving Japan and  the American’s accusations involving China’s electronic spying on US government and business entities.  As a result, Vice President Biden publically condemned the Chinese for not clarifying the visa non-renewal issue, and the Chinese are not responding to Biden’s condemnation and responding that all journalists no matter from where are being rated equally under the law of the country and that journalists also should abide by the laws of the country that hosts them.   Various important Media outlets such as The Times are outraged, as they see is important for their journalists to be stationed in China, especially because it is the largest competitor to the United States.   In addition, China also has a history of blocking news web-sites, especially when it concerns news that deal with negative information that China doesn’t want the public to know about such as corruption and scandals concerning their government officials.  At the same time, the American government finds no easy solution to the problem as it is not quite sure how to retaliate.  For example, it may be thinking about restricting visas to Chinese journalists into the United States or even expel some Chinese journalists.  However, these sort of tactics would be counter-productive as the Americans do want the Chinese people to read about America, and want American news to reach China.      

The information that this article provides clearly shows how media, news and politics are very much linked and intertwined.  The idea that the public has a right to know, and that news outlets have an obligation to the public in terms of information and information sharing is important is a principle that is and should be supported by any free society or a society that values these ideas.  However, media which is a mechanism by which people are provided important information is political as the article clearly shows.  On the one hand China threatens to throw out American Journalists because it has tensions with the United States because of political issues unrelated to media, and then because these journalists apparently do not abide by the reporting practices of the Chinese.  On the other hand, the Americans also use media as a way of bringing information about America to China which is political also.   I believe that the genuine principles of journalism and the value of why media is there in the first place has been completely lost in this case.  News outlets and newspapers and journalists should remain and be respected as independent entities and people and not hampered by government control.  Although China is more obviously controlled, the United States has also made this issue a political one.      

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/06/world/asia/biden-faults-china-on-foreign-press-crackdown.html?ref=media

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