Daily Archives: 5 June 2009

Media freedom is what separates India & China

No media debate on Asia is complete with0ut comparing India to China, or vice-versa. Even among middle-class media consumers, there is a barely disguised contempt for the slow pace of growth in democratic India, for all the “obstacles” in the path of progress and development, compared with the frenetic pace in The Middle Kingdom.

But is there a comparison to be made at all?

Is China really in India’s league, notwithstanding the growth rate, the forex reserves, etc? This is a CNN video of its Beijing correspondent attempting to go to Tiananmen Square on 4 June 2009, the 20th anniversary of the massacre, before being engulfed by umbrella-weilding “undercover” police.

As the legendary Atlantic Monthly correspondent James Fallows, now based in Beijing, writes:

“This is the kind of thing that makes you hold your head and say: Rising major power in the world?”

And this, on top of a ban on Twitter and Facebook, and censorship of television stories which begin with “In China today…” or “Twenty years ago in Bei….”

Also read: James Fallows: The June 4 report

T.J.S. George in China: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI


‘The media’s Obama infatuation is worrisome’

The Pew Research Center’s project for excellence in journalism shows that US president Barack Obama has received more positive media coverage (42 per cent) in his first months in office, more than either Bill Clinton (27%) or George W. Bush (22%).


Robert J. Samuelson in Newsweek:

“The Obama infatuation is a great unreported story of our time. The press—on domestic, if not foreign, policy—has so far largely abdicated its role as skeptical observer.

“The infatuation matters because Obama’s ambitions are so grand…. Journalists seem to take his pronouncements at face value even when many are two-faced.

“The cause of this acquiescence isn’t clear. The press sometimes follows opinion polls; popular presidents get good coverage, and Obama is enormously popular…. Perhaps the preoccupation with the present economic crisis has diverted attention from the long-term implications of other policies.

“But the deeper explanation may be as straightforward as this: Most journalists like Obama; they admire his command of language; he’s a relief after Bush; they agree with his agenda (so it never occurs to them to question basic premises); and they don’t want to see the first African American president fail.”

Read the full article: The Obama infatuation

Also read: Why journalists like Barack Obama

How global media covered Obama inauguration