a list of directions from the Chinese government sent out to all media outlets on how they are allowed to cover the incident. The rules are a stark reminder of why, no matter how long Google kowtowed to government demands there, the search engine's actions are important for the development of a free society.Lest we forget what is at stake with the situation involving Google and China, the Washington Post has published today
Obtained and translated by China Digital Times, the instructions specifically outline how traditional and new media may or may not approach the topic.
The instructions start out highlighting how important Google's actions are and how this importance is not to be emphasized to the public:
Google has officially announced its withdrawal from the China market. This is a high-impact incident. It has triggered netizens' discussions which are not limited to a commercial level. Therefore please pay strict attention to the following content requirements during this period:
The first instruction really says it all: "Only use Central Government main media (website) content; do not use content from other sources."
The Chinese government wants to stay on top of forming the message about Google and its place in China, as we saw with stories this past week about Google colluding with U.S. spies and being an agent of the U.S. government, not an agent of free thought, speech or change.
The instructions go on from there, directing media to use the government assigned title, refer only to government main media websites and control any and all discussion. The section on Internet media is particularly informative.
B. Forums, blogs and other interactive media sections:
1. It is not permitted to hold discussions or investigations on the Google topic.
2. Interactive sections do not recommend this topic, do not place this topic and related comments at the top.
3. All websites please clean up text, images and sound and videos which attack the Party, State, government agencies, Internet policies with the excuse of this event.
4. All websites please clean up text, images and sound and videos which support Google, dedicate flowers to Google, ask Google to stay, cheer for Google and others have a different tune from government policy.
5. On topics related to Google, carefully manage the information in exchanges, comments and other interactive sessions.
Not only are websites required to closely follow the governmental opinion on the subject, but they are to keep conversation in check. No "conversations" or "investigations" are to be held and all related content is not to be placed in a prominent position.
In case you're wondering through all of this what the Chinese government's take on Google is, exactly, it's that "Google Is Not God". And according to these instructions, this sentiment is something that needs to be repeated by all Chinese media alike.
And you thought U.S. media could be a mouthpiece for corporate and governmental interests.