Shen Yongping (沈勇平) is a documentary maker living in Beijing best known for making One Hundred Years of Constitutionalism (《百年宪政》) (trailer in Chinese), now available on YouTube. He was detained in April of this year, and charged with illegal business operations. His trial will be held at 9:30 am on November 4th, 2014, in Yuhe Court of Chaoyang District People’s Court (北京市朝阳区人民法院温榆河法庭). [No news that I can see since then – at least not in English]
There’s a sentiment I’ve encountered again lately: Don’t show photographs of dead or injured/traumatized people in the news. Why? Because “showing this doesn’t add anything to the story”, because “showing the dead takes their dignity”, because “children shouldn’t see this.”
While I respect why people would argue like this, I assume most if not all arguments actually originate from a very human desire:
Don’t make me feel uncomfortable.
Minister of state for Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar on Friday said that the NDA government would not interfere with freedom of the press under any circumstances.
Inaugurating the sixth edition of Malayalam daily ‘Janmabhoomi’, the mouthpiece of BJP’s State unit here, he said the NDA government’s policy on development of the media and communication would be straightforward and transparent.
“The government will not create a stumbling block in issuing licenses and other requisite permits,” he said.
Javadekar recalled that freedom of the press had been gained from the British with ‘great sacrifices’ of many eminent men, several of whom had been martyrs for the purpose.
He said it most unfortunate that press was ‘mauled’ during the Emergency and pointed out that there were great men even during that period who fought bravely to maintain its freedom and even underwent imprisonment.
For those opposed to the BJP’s ideology and policies, he said development of the media and communication network is essential for the healthy growth of democracy.
The documentary reveals an important insight: the countries where most of the attacks come from the government are the same ones where the state controls a relatively greater portion of the media, which fosters a climate of opinion that lacks criticism. For example, in Ecuador, since 2005, the government has created at least 17 state media outlets; in Venezuela, in May of this year, Globovisión network — the only one left with any critical voice — was sold to people close to the regime; and in Argentina, 80 percent of the media is controlled through government funding and advertising.
The PRC government has adopted regulations governing internet access and the distribution of information over the internet. Under these regulations, internet content providers and internet publishers are prohibited from posting or displaying over the internet content that, among other things, impairs the national dignity of China, is reactionary, obscene, superstitious, fraudulent or defamatory, or otherwise violates PRC laws and regulations. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in the revocation of licenses to provide internet content and other licenses and the closure of the concerned websites. The website operator may also be held liable for such censored information displayed on or linked to the website. […] Although we attempt to monitor the content posted by users on our platform, we are not able to effectively control or restrict content (including comments as well as pictures, videos and other multimedia content) generated or placed on our platform by our users. In March 2012, we had to disable the Comment feature on our platform for three days to clean up feeds related to certain rumors. To the extent that PRC regulatory authorities find any content displayed on our platform objectionable, they may require us to limit or eliminate the dissemination of such information on our platform. Failure to do so may subject us to liabilities and penalties and may even result in the temporary blockage or complete shutdown of our online operations.