DHARAMSHALA, December 24: The urban Chinese population has greater trust in anonymous online microblogs than state run newspapers and television news, a new study has revealed.
The Epoch Times has reported that the findings were made in a study on the quality of life of urban residents by the Institute of Sociology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the China Social Sciences Press. Interviewees were asked to rank the level of integrity of 11 industries and typical work units in the study the report said citing the Legal Evening News, a state-run newspaper.
The report said that the state-run media’s level of integrity is “relatively low” compared to blogs and microblogs.
“According to the report, young netizens from the age of 30 and under trust the contents of platforms like Sina Weibo more; microblogging ranked second, winning the trust of 21.6 percent of participants, a proportion exceeding Chinese newspapers,” The Epoch Times said.
Media profession in China ranked sixth on the integrity list out of the 11 industries included in the study.
The Chinese government has long tried to keep a tight rein on traditional and new media to prevent any challenges to its political authority. Earlier this year, China blocked the websites of Bloomberg
and The New York Times and also forced Al Jazeera to shut down
its Beijing-based English bureau.
China is regularly ranked amongst the world’s worst media offenders in the press freedom index by the global media watchdog Reporters Without Borders.
China last year was ranked 174 on a list of 179 countries, followed only by regimes such as North Korea, Syria, and Iran.
RSF in its 2011-12 report said that China, which has “more journalists, bloggers and cyber-dissidents in prison than any other country, stepped up its censorship and propaganda in 2011 and tightened its control of the internet, particularly the blogosphere.”
The group further said that protest by minorities in Tibet, Inner Mongolia, and Xinjiang “regularly gave rise to a harsh crackdown by the authorities.”
“In Beijing and Shanghai, international correspondents were particular targets of the security forces and had to work under the continual threat of expulsion or having their visas withdrawn. journalists were prevented from covering most of the events that threatened china’s stability or might have given it a negative image.”