Great report from Freedom House on how the Chinese government looks at media and how it tries to censor it.
China’s media environment remains one of the world’s most restrictive. As described in Freedom House’s recently released report on the state of global press freedom for the year 2012, the Chinese government’s press restrictions were complex, intricate, ruthless when necessary, and flexible when it suited the leadership’s purposes. At the same time, these controls were subject to pushback from ordinary citizens outraged at the suppression of information about critical events.
Constraints on print media were especially tight in advance of a sensitive leadership transition in November, and several journalists were dismissed or demoted for violating censorship discipline. Internet users who disseminated information that was deemed undesirable by the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continued to face punishment, with dozens of cases of harassment, detention, or imprisonment documented during the year. Meanwhile, conditions in Tibetan areas and for foreign journalists deteriorated. The promotion of a hard-liner formerly responsible for the regime’s system of information controls to the top party leadership body, combined with measures to reinforce internet censorship and surveillance toward the end of the year, indicated the new CCP hierarchy’s commitment to retaining a tight grip on the information landscape.