Covering the issues, Chinese way

While ethnic strife in China has given fresh breath to talks about country’s oppressive tendencies, I am little amused to see a subtle change.

Chinese media has always been state controlled, as we know it for a long. But ground reports this time do indicate that media has somehow defied state diktat to expose country’s underbelly.

My personal experience with the Chinese media stunned and forced me to exult for the situation I am working in.

Last December, on tour to Belgaum to covere Indo-China joint military exercise, I had a bitter taste of it. The incident acquainted me with the situation in which neighboring country’s media operates.

Reporters from state owned Xinhua agency and other organizations were at the place to cover the event.

The exercise began well in the morning. We saw Chinese personnel giving Indian army a lesson on combat operations, some airdropping events and exchange of fire.

Post military exercise, the press from both countries gathered for conference.

To our surprise, the conference wasn’t a conference where press asks questions – sometimes impromptu, sometimes informed by reporters in advance.

Not just the questions were chalked in advance by their military (of course in consultations with their Indian counterparts) and fed us but their answers too were ready.

What then left was a mechanical exercise. Three questions were asked by Indian reporters while other three by Chinese. Who will ask what and to whom was all fixed. The conference was reduced to another event.

Most of us protested. But they seemed quite normal.

Prior to the conference, my friend Prasad and Nadeem did try and get introduced with Chinese reporters. Much to their surprise, a lady Chinese reporter and her male colleague accepted business cards but refused to exchange theirs’ citing state policy.

I was shocked. But Very quickly that shock turned into gloating.

How free I am in my country, a thought surfaced. The subsequent thought was: Do I not sometimes exploit that freedom ?


chavakiran said...

We are lucky to be a in a free country in spite of all problems it brings us!

Yogesh said...

Very true, Chavakiran.


Rakesh Nigam said...

Hey Yogi, Have u asked these chinees fellows that are they happy with their tied hand? i mean do they feel suffocating?
also must appreciate their discipline that they have not given handed you their business card. though they are away from their country.

Have u given a thought that despite these odds, ASAAHI SIMBHUNU was the world's largest read daily few years back.

Have we asked ourselves that despite freedom why we are far behind to China? Do we really respect and understand the importance of our lease valued FREEDOM.

Think about it.

Yogesh said...

I appreciate your appreciation for Chinese, my dear friend Rakesh.