Yahoo has been forced to apologise for helping the Chinese authorities clampdown on dissident bloggers. This interests Polis for three reasons.
1. We host a public debate to be broadcast on the BBC Chinese Service on Media Freedom on Monday November 26th: details from firstname.lastname@example.org
2. I have been serving on a China media freedom advisory group at the Foreign Office in the run up to the Beijing Olympics. It is a fascinating state of affairs as the Chinese authorities have relaxed restrictions on foreign media in the run-up to the Games. Unfortunately, it does not apply to domestic media and they still haven’t quite got the hang of this press freedom thing. So they arrested and threw in to jail a team of Channel 4 journalists who were making a film about…illegal Chinese prisons.
3. This is a real test of the Internet’s power to liberate. We shouldn’t over-react to big companies like Yahoo making compromises with nasty regimes. But it reminds us that there is nothing innately progressive about the Internet. Next year will be an interesting time to watch the news media and the new media in China and Polis will be there.
Get in touch if you are interested in China media issues at email@example.com