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‘The More Truth You Know, the More Distressed You Feel': China's Journalists’ Day

What journalists in China “need most is a sound legal system to protect their safety and dignity,” one TV reporter reflected online on Chinese Journalists’ Day, which falls on November 8.

Other Chinese reporters joined in on the occasion, voicing their concerns about censorship, the state media and freedom of the press on Sina Weibo, the country's most popular microblogging website. 

Wang Shisi, a veteran journalist, shared [zh] his thoughts:

Pic from Sina Weibo

Picture from Sina Weibo

记者节。从业22年,如下感悟:1 身体经造, 灵魂经烤;2 无冕之王只是客气,当真了就死定了;3 有时知道真相越多越苦恼;4 没良知别监督, 没常识别批评,否则难免被嫖娼被跨省;5 没法律保障,只能靠组织护佑;6 骂美国比骂村长安全;7 可以不说事实,但千万别撒谎;8 小姐的活法,圣女的操守。

Journalists’ Day. Here are my feelings after being in this industry for 22 years: 1. My body and soul have been tortured; 2. The uncrowned king is just being polite. If you take it seriously, you are dead; 3. Sometimes the more truth you know, the more distressed you feel; 4. Don’t supervise or criticize if you don’t have the common sense, lest you be prostituted; 5. No legal protection, can only rely on organization's protection; 6. Blaming the United States is safter than cursing village leaders; 7. You don’t have to tell the truth, but do not lie; 8. Live like a prostitute, but protect yourself like a virgin.

Shi’s comments have resonated among many journalists, with popular TV host Meng Fei[zh] pointing out:

今天是记者节,其实记者根本不需要用节日来提升荣誉感,他们最需要的是用健全的法制来保障安全和尊严。

Today is Journalists’ Day. In fact, reporters do not need the holiday to enhance their sense of honor, what they need most is a sound legal system to protect their safety and dignity.

In reaction to the latest “Big-V” crackdown on social media, TV host Hu Ziwei posted [zh] a poem written by her journalist friend:

沉默不是寂灭,沉默不代表认同,沉默不是放弃,沉默铸造责任;沉默也是声音,沉默就是真相;与呼号相比,爆炸是沉默的,与舆论相比,新闻是沉默的。2013,新闻业处在向下沉沦与向上挣扎的节点,为了不使虚无的喧嚣得逞,识别喧嚣中的虚无非常迫切。——一位记者同行写于记者节

Silence is not quiescence, silence does not mean identity, silence is not to give up, silence casts responsibility. Silence is a sound, silence is the truth. Compared with public opinion, the press is silent. 2013, journalism is sinking and struggling. In order not to make the hustle and bustle of nothingness succeed, identifying the hustle and bustle of nothingness is necessary.—A journalist fellow written on Journalists’ Day

Luo Changping, deputy chief editor from Caijing magazine, wrote [zh]: 

在中国,若要驱散政治阴霾,推进腐败防治工作,不可能只靠政府,也需要公民社会和私营领域的共同努力。跟司法系统类似,一个独立、权威的新闻行业,是建立阳光政府与透明政治的重要基础。

A transparent government cannot only rely on the government, but also on civil society and the private sectors. Similar to the judicial system, an independent and authoritative news industry is an important foundation for establishing a transparent government.

Journalist Deng Fei called for the use of new media in the digital age:

讲传播与赋权,媒体人掌握话语权的时代结束了,但我们的文字、思想、价值观和传播动员组织优势功力还在,我们必须与时俱进,变革自身,利用各类新媒体继续前行,或自媒体或公益行动,来传播我们的价值。

Times have changed since journalists were empowered to spread news, but we still have the power of words, thoughts, values and communication skills. We must advance with the times, improve ourselves by using various new media forms and spread our values through new media or citizen media.

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