Having designed and implemented projects in China for more than a decade now, and experiencing firsthand the culture of censorship and control, I think that this report is pretty accurate based on my experience. Here are some key summary points: (You can view and download the full report here at Reporters Without Borders)
- China has always controlled all traditional media, and the Internet poses a new challenge for control. China now has more than 160 million Internet users and at least 1.3 million websites, both of which continue to grow.
- China blocks thousands of websites, censor online news and imprisons activists.
- Leading actors include the
- Internet Propaganda Administrative Bureau (affiliated with the Information Office of the State Council, the executive office of the government),
- Bureau of Information and Public Opinion (affiliated with the party’s Publicity Department, the former Propaganda Department) and
- Internet Bureau (another Publicity Department affliate).
- Beijing Internet Information Administrative Bureau
- Other secondary bodies listed in the report
- Some methods of control include:
- (as per the report) "a skilful mix of filtering technologies, cyberpolice surveillance and propaganda, in all of which China invests massively.", at both the national and local level
- Government employees and University journalism students are trained vigorously, to the point of 'ideology control', while key staff of online companies (including Yahoo!) are asked to go on a propagandistic Chinese "online media trip".
- The government, through the Beijing Internet Information Administrative Bureau, asserts daily editorial control via a variety of ways (such as meetings, emails/SMS and directives) over leading news agencies based in Beijing. Many agencies practice self-censorship as a result.
- In addition to passive monitoring, especially after 2005 when the Beijing Internet Information Administrative Bureau was formed, the government actively control internet news by insisting the publication of propagandistic materials.
- Key-word censorship (where government or self-censors use to monitor sites):
- masked words: words replaced by an asterisk
- sensitive words: words that need to be checked by moderators before they can be posted
- taboo words: words that cannot be posted or isolated or appear in an article’s content.
- Penalties that have been inflicted includes: media criticism, strict fines, dismissal of site employee, and site closure.
- When bloggers and others have appealed or otherwise made their plight public, they have been ignored, threatened or imprisoned. Similarly, human rights activists are imprisoned.
- Recommendations on eluding control
- proxy server to to hide IP addresses, and downloading software to access foreign sites
- exploiting the different levels of censorship between provinces or between levels in the administration and
- using new Internet technologies (blogs, discussion forums, Internet telephony etc.)
You can view and download the full report here at Reporters Without Borders
Post a Comment