Not long ago, a certain county held a so-called "Propaganda Ideology Task Meeting." At the meeting the contents from conferences held at the higher levels at the Party Central Committee, Provinces, and Cities were explained to all of the attendees. The following stern order was given to all news reporters and media (radio and TV stations, newspapers): "No negative news will be permitted from now on. Since it is an order, anyone who violates the code of conduct will be punished. Any issues raised must be reported to the higher authorities through internal channels."
The news media should monitor social issues with public opinions, whether positive or negative. As long as it is factual, it should be reported in a timely fashion so that the population at large remains informed and the news has the effect of tracking various social activities. This is the real reason for the news media's existence. If the media were to follow what was ordered at that meeting, reporting only good news and never bad news, with even good news exaggerated or fabricated, then why would people need the media? It is such a pity that our fellow citizens are constantly being manipulated by fabricated news stories in their daily lives.
The author personally heard the following story from a reporter: During the March 8th Women's Day, a certain township organised a group of women to do something worthwhile and newsworthy. Since it was during the tree planting season, the leadership decided it would be a good idea to have those women plant trees. They arranged reporters to write news releases for this event so as to publicise the local government's accomplishment. The leadership even arranged someone to dig the holes ahead of time. Then the "advanced and diligent" women representatives arrived at the site. Some of them held the tree sapling, some filled the dirt, and some watered the tree sapling just planted. Reporters also got busy taking pictures and shooting videos. After all was done, the leadership said, "Very well now, let's pull the tree saplings out and get out of here."
You might not believe this from reading the above story in the news. For heaven's sake! Why did they want to remove the tree saplings after they planted them? They did that because a private company owned the land and planned to erect buildings at that site. So sooner or later they would have to remove all the trees. Yet such a totally fabricated news story about a "government accomplishment" later appeared on TV and in the newspapers. What have these "people's leaders," reporters and media really done? Even reporters readily admit that there are never any real stories in the news. Readers should carefully scrutinise all numbers and statistics quoted in a media report: good news most likely is exaggerated; bad news has been significantly toned down. Even then, any bad news that is reported is most likely an isolated example of something happening on a much broader scale than the report indicates.
I would like to suggest to those who swear by the media in Mainland China, that you try to distinguish the truth from what is fabricated using your own sense and rationality. Some people may think, "Why should I care whether it is true or false?" In fact, it has a lot to do with each one of us. For example, there was a report by the media about "Sudan Red 1," a substance that might cause cancer. The Chinese media only started to report and investigate it after the substance was discovered in Europe and widely covered by the foreign media. The truth is that a cancer causing substance such as "Sudan Red 1" had been clearly outlawed in China more than 10 years earlier. But who knows? Did the Ministry of Health ever intervene? Did anyone ever investigate it? Did the media ever cover it?
This is just one example that we can see and touch. It illustrates the relationship between a media report and our daily life. It shows how our thoughts can be easily misled or even corrupted by the falsified propaganda from the media, such as the reports on Falun Gong. Since July 1999, the media's slandering propaganda has misled the entire nation. Every piece of the propaganda was a falsified case of "suicide," "murder," or "self immolation." The media totally demonised Falun Gong. All the media--TV, radio, newspaper, continuously reported such fallacious coverage each day, every day; even people who had first hand knowledge and experience with Falun Gong were deceived and swayed. For those who knew nothing about Falun Gong, how did they treat this issue while facing the overwhelming and sudden onslaught of the media propaganda? The media incited hatred inside of people's hearts, hatred against Falun Gong and Falun Gong practitioners.
But Falun Gong practitioners are a group of people who cultivate "Truth, Compassion, Forbearance." Falun Gong teachings specifically require that a "practitioner must never kill," and "it is a sin to commit suicide." This group of people has been following the guidance of "Truth, Compassion, Forbearance" to improve themselves, to continuously raise their moral standard. Yet the media carried out this large scale falsified propaganda and deceived the massive populace of China. It ended up that the media instigated hatred in the hearts of those who were once peaceful and kind. The media's slandering propaganda instigated this hatred using cases that never existed. If one group hates another group of good people, what will be the outcome?
The outcome has been brutality and malice. Tens of millions of Falun Gong practitioners have been stripped of their personal freedom of belief for no reason. Thousands of practitioners have been persecuted to death; and countless practitioners have been sentenced to prison, labour camps and torture.
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