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Fete the Press

April 25th, 2014 - 9:10 am

One journalist who worked in China tells their sad story of self-censorship:

Theoretically, I could have sneaked something provocative into print. Before the edition went to the printer, I could have asked one of our page designers to switch the text. I knew they didn’t read the articles when they were working. But I would have lost my job, and it might have cost my boss his publishing licence. A lot of people might have lost jobs. I decided that nothing I could have possibly written would justify the human cost. So, the system works.

As it happens China does occasionally throw journalists into jail, and so the implicit cost calculation of defying the censors is able to keep most people in check. For all the opacity of censorship, it’s easy to figure the price of disobeying.

Writers like to rail against censorship, but they’re less keen on discussing what it’s like to work under it. When they do, shame, loneliness and psychic harm are common themes. When you build a life of letters, it’s painful to admit that your work has served the repressive status quo rather than the cause of enlightenment.

One wonders if Thomas Friedman, admirer of Chinese “efficiency,” approves.

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All Comments   (4)
All Comments   (4)
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Friedman wouldn't be bothered: when you already have Truth, you don't need freedom.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Shame has a pretty small carbon footprint.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
At least he is not afraid to tell his sad story. The journalists covering Dear Leader are not as forthcoming. If she reported about Benghazi, a rising star journalist would lose her job, a lying government official would become her former employer's go to expert reaping millions of payoffs. Methink our journalist's story is sadder.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, Friedman does.

Just ask Sharyl Attkisson. The rot is deep and broad.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
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