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Issues of Eastern vs Western Journalism

Posted by Zachary Smith

Any person can tell you about the vast number of differences between the eastern world and western world.  However, can one consider the practice and consideration of journalism to be one of those differences?

Chairman Mao is the figure head that westerners place with creating the Chinese Great Firewall.

As described by a Nieman Reports story by Glenn Mott, “what is mean by Western journalism within China is what most Chinese have casual access to: CNN, BBC or what can be culled from the firewalled Internet abroad using a Virtual Private Network to access blocked sites.”


Mott  questions what can be described as Western Journalism?  Does this involve the ethical standards that western journalists follow?  As one reads news stories about journalists in the two hemispheres it is evident that there is a distinction between each hemisphere’s practices.

One difference is the fear of violence that journalists face in the eastern hemisphere.  For example, recently, a Chinese journalist who probed the cooking oil scandal was stabbed 10 times and died due to complications from this attack.    The Committee to Protect Journalists wrote about the unfortunate story of this Chinese journalist named Li Xiang.

“Li had reported on the illegal recylcing of waste oil into cooking oil and also wrote about it on his microblog,” CPJ reports.  In the western hemisphere, this kind of reporting often receives praise in the western hemisphere.  However, in the east, according to CPJ, “Food safety scandals are common in China, and journalists reporting on them frequently encounter harassment.”

Do you think that there are other obvious differences between the ideas of western and eastern journalism?  If so, what are they?  Also, do you consider it to be more challenging for an eastern journalist to live and report in the west or for a western journalist to live and report in the east?

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One response to “Issues of Eastern vs Western Journalism

  1. With the censorship in the Middle East and the East, I’m not sure I would want to be a journalist. People get killed for sharing their voices. So often we take for granted our First Amendment rights, but it’s important to remember our freedoms of speech and press. Being a journalist in the U.S. may not be easy, but it’s easier than being one in many other countries.

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