By SHAI FOX SAVARIAU
Reporting news in China has always been a sticky situation but even more recently, there has been in influx of rejected visas for foreign journalists who report within the country.
Even journalists who have worked in the field for years in China are now receiving rejections towards renewed visas. This is forcing people who have been living there for their journalism profession to leave and find new jobs elsewhere.
This issue is also forcing many journalists who have not had their visa renewals rejected to reconsider how they report news. Most have decided that they need to take part in self-censorship, but is that really reporting the news? There have also been reports of death threats towards foreign journalists who are reporting things that are not necessarily agreed with by citizens of China. This can also affect how journalists report news with accuracy.
Local citizen journalists have always been restricted in what they report. Freedom of the press in China is very limited and it has been known that foreign news coverage has always had more freedom to report than Chinese journalists. But nowadays it is becoming more evident that both foreign and local reporters are becoming one in the same.
During the past 10 years, many Western media companies have increased their coverage of China. Companies like The New York Times and the BBC have created blogs strictly dedicated to the country. This investment reflects China’s growing significance as an important country in international affairs. China requires attention from the media. But as a result, this has given China more leverage over the foreign media than it once had.
One of the main reasons for this type of crackdown on foreign coverage is that China does not want the world to know about the relationship its big business and politics have with each other. In the end, it’s all about money. But it is argued that in doing so, China is harming its ties in foreign affairs. If China is kicking out journalists from other countries for unfriendly reporting, it causes those countries to question China’s relations with them.
As China gains more wealth, it is becoming more and more apparent that other things, like foreign news coverage, do not matter because the Chinese leaders know they have leverage over other countries. This is bad news for journalists who have ties in China when it comes to reporting.