There will always be talk about the biases of the media and the perspective in which it takes when reporting the news; however, when the news is run by the government and the people who write the news are threatened to withdraw from their positions because they will not write propaganda, it becomes a serious issue that can lead a country into turmoil. Such was the situation in Beijing, the capital of China, in 1989, during the student and worker protests at Tiananmen Square and the ultimate killings that occurred on June 4th of that year.
The role of the Chinese government in the Tiananmen Square protests went far beyond their military control and suppression; the government’s role in banning publications and firing media personnel for standing up for themselves and the protestors resulted in skewed reporting and a void in which there would be reliable information about the event, such as the number of people that died, eyewitness accounts, etc. Most of the information that resulted from state-run agencies and media were largely propagandistic and more detrimental to the government than the protestors. Foreign correspondents were mostly chased off by officials who didn’t want the students telling their story outside of a government-controlled environment; however, one newspaper from Hong Kong, Ming Pao, was able to document the event with photographs, because of their ability to blend in with the crowd. Compared to the reports from People’s Daily, the compiled photographs taken by Ming Pao journalists reveal the student point of view – and the history of Chinese political activism and nationalism.
The Tiananmen Square protests stemmed from policies that were initiate...
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...alists see themselves as civil servants, an editor at the English-language China Daily describes the situation more bluntly: "We are like dogs on a leash. A very short leash."
Jernow, Allison Liu. “The Tight Leash Loosens.” Columbia Journalism Review
Mathews, Jay. “The Myth of Tiananmen.” Columbia Journalism Review September/October 1998
Ming Pao News. June Four: A Chronicle of the Chinese Democratic Uprising.
Fayetteville: The University of Arkansas Press, 1989. (source of photos)
Simmie, Scott and Bob Nixon. Tiananmen Square. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1989.
Thom, Cathleen. “Invisible Censorship: The Freedom of the Press and Its Responsibility” The Humanist. July/August 1999
Yu, Mok Chiu and Frank J. Harrison. Voices From Tiananmen Square. Montreal-New York: Black Rose Books, 1990.
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