Coverage of the Lhasa riot by some Western media organizations was distorted and betrayed the basic principles of accuracy, objectivity and impartiality for news reporting, said Zhai Huisheng, China Journalists' Association executive vice-chairman, on Tuesday.
"Their reporting poses as a serious threat to the credibility of media among the public," said Zhai, adding some Western media used photos and footage that were false or taken out of context to confuse the public.
One Western media organization released a picture on its website showing Chinese Armed Police officers helping medical staff move a wounded person into an ambulance. The caption said that "there is a heavy military presence in Lhasa", neglecting the obvious references of First Aid and Red Cross signs on the ambulance.
He said there were other pictures published by Western media that were obviously confusing. A caption on one website said that Chinese military personnel dragged some protestors into a vehicle. In actuality, the uniformed police were in India.
Zhai said although Western mainstream media quoted the Chinese government sometimes, most of the time they used what was said by the Dalai group and thus delivered only their voice. Meanwhile, they used vague expressions in statistics, such as "reportedly", "hundreds were killed and wounded", among others.
"Accuracy is the lifeline of news reporting, and is also the basic ethics of journalists," said Zhai. "Some Western media have obviously transgressed this basic line."
(Xinhua News Agency March 27, 2008)