In this year's World Press Freedom Index, China dropped to 177th place. RSF blames Xi Jinping and his "monopoly of power". China is spreading a "new world media order" thanks to sophisticated high-tech information controls.
Paris (AsiaNews/RFA) – Beijing is exporting its information 'black hole' marked by a lack of freedom of the press and opinion, says Reporters Without Borders' (RSF) in its 2019 World Press Freedom Index.
For RSF, China now ranks 177th and this is due to the “the monopoly of power exercised by [China’s] president Xi Jinping”.
The country’s ruling elite suppresses all debate in state-run media, "while cracking down relentlessly on citizen journalists who try to make a dissenting voice heard."
"China’s anti-democratic model, based on Orwellian high-tech information surveillance and manipulation, is all the more alarming because Beijing is now promoting its adoption internationally," RSF warned.
In effect, China is now trying to establish a "new world media order," the report notes.
For years, Chinese journalists have been forced, for example, not to talk about religious and ethnic problems, free trade unions and labour tensions, pollution and violence.
In case facts cannot be hushed up, journalists are obliged to follow the line set by Xinhua, the country’s official state-run news agency.
Control over journalists reflects the control exercised over the population, on the internet and on social media.
Thanks to a powerful database, which providers have to feed constantly, censors can quickly discover articles that deviate from the official line, obscure the page or site, and stop the author.
"The Chinese system of total news control is increasingly serving as a model for other anti-democratic regimes," the RSF report noted.
China’s model is also spreading in democratic countries. Thanks to low price of news, several European newspapers rely on Chinese sources.