MH370 brings out the ugly side of China


Media censorship is a ‘culture’ in the communist state and yet it has the gall to accuse Malaysia of lacking in transparency over the tragedy

Narinder Singh, Free Malaysia Today

The MH370 tragedy has opened the floodgates for the media in China to bash Malaysia’s efforts in locating the missing flight. Under the guise of seeking the ‘truth’ for the next-of-kin of the 154 Chinese nationals on board the ill-fated plane, Chinese authorities have abused their media channels to the hilt.

They accused us of not being transparent and keeping the media at bay from acquiring details and top secret information. Media freedom has been and always will remain controversial as there is too much of subjectivity attached to it.

Pertinent factors include journalistic approach, political agenda, self interest, and above all, the governments’ directions and degree of grip over what is acceptable and what is a big NO. The world is well aware of how dictatorial the Communist Party is, how it ‘handles’ the various media channels.

News must be favourable and palatable for its liking, otherwise be prepared for a ferocious backlash from the government. News people, from editors to journalists and even those on the net platform have been harassed, dictated to, or jailed for defying orders.

A classic example was following the accident involving two high speed trains near Wenzhou in Zhejiang Province, China on July 23, 2011. Public fury brewed to intense levels thereafter as the Chinese government lacked transparency and was not forthcoming in revealing the details of investigations of the crash that killed 40 people and injuring nearly 200 others.

Newspapers were forced by the authoritarian communist government to replace investigative articles and commentaries about the incident with cartoons or unrelated features. Major internet portals were also victims of the mass media crackdown. They were forced to remove links to news reports and videos related to the crash.

The editor of Southern Metropolis Daily, a newspaper based in Guangzhou hit the bull’s-eye in summarising the train crash fiasco.

He said: “Tonight, hundreds of papers are replacing their pages; thousands of reporters are having their stories retracted; tens of thousands of ghosts cannot rest in peace; hundreds of millions of truths are being covered up. This country is being humiliated by numerous evil hands.”