Zhao Yuezhi, professor in the School of Communications of Canada's Simon Fraser University commented recently on the biased coverage of the Tibetan riots by the western news media, according to Xinhua News Agency.
"It is no surprise that the main news media failed to report the events objectively," said Ms. Zhao.
She said the western media's standards are determined by national and commercial interests, the dominant ideology, and the media's own middle-class, bourgeois status. Objectivity only exists within the boundaries of national interests and ideology. For instance, the western media has never and will never maintain a neutral stance towards communism.
"Reviewing the history of American journalism gives a better perspective on how the idea of objectivity was adopted as a principle. Its adoption came at a time when the notion that ‘money is king' was woven into the fabric of people's lives," she said. "In a deep sense, objectivity is closely correlated with the profitability of the media and ad agencies trying to reach the widest audience."
"Since the 1980s, the monopolies have tightened their grip on the news medial." Ms. Zhao remarked. Under the pressure of fierce competition and against the backdrop of anti-terrorism, a few media organizations have used deliberately biased news as a business and political tool. Meanwhile, honest mainstream news media that try to remain objective face daunting challenges. And the media increasingly embraces values that drive reporters to scour for emergencies, conflicts, and every little tidbit or sensational story, churning an endless mill of rumor and gossip.
Ms. Zhao said that the coverage of the riots in Tibet in the western media has been a shock and a revelation to the Chinese audience, who have learnt an important lesson regarding the deceptive and ambiguous claim of news objectivity.
(China.org.cn by He Shan, April 7, 2008)