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One of the hot topic is China’s earthquake. The earthquake happened at 2:28pm, May 12th. Five hours after the earthquake, China Central Television (CCTV) started offering non-stop and comprehensive live reporting. Meanwhile, there was synchronous online live reporting in CCTV website – www.cctv.com.

In Chinese media history, there has been no such live reporting for a disaster before. Every piece of news which will be reported on CCTV or published in CCTV website, must be checked and approved by the government authority. However, for this disaster, all reportings in CCTV website are not checked by the government authority, which means all are first-hand information and reflects the truth. Moreover, people post thousands of pictures about this earthquakes in all kinds of Chinese website’s bbs. Also, people freely state their viewpoints and feelings about government’s reaction to this earthquake. One of Chinese popular websites is www.tianya.cn.  

From 19 May to 21 May, there were National Mourning Days. During these three days, the color turned to be black and white in all of  Chinese websites, no matter their servers are in China or outside of China. All gaming websites and online game providers closed all games and entertainments, reporting the earthquake from different angles instead. All video sharing websites stopped offering other entertainning videos. When people wanted to search for some entertaining videos in video sharing websites, it displayed “no result found” in those websites. People could not even use the searching function in some video sharing websites. Instead, there were all videos about the earthquake.

In fact, Chinese government is highly praised for its reaction to this earthquake. Most Chinese feel it is big improvement to let social media have more freedom.  

by Si Xuan 

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In the past week or so the blogosphere has been discussing China’s amazing capablities in reacting to the crisis by gracefully and swiftly accepting international aid.

It is an interesting change from a government that is usually less than forthcoming with providing information. The question that now arises is – would this be a one off change in face of a tragedy or is it indicative of a deeper change. Perhaps it suggests a change in attitude as to how China views the rest of the world.

This seems feasible particularly when you contrast China’s reaction with that of Myanmar.

What do you think…?

surekha

Was reading Chloe’s post that more than 80% of the Chinese population said yes to the filtered content. Well, since I’m researching on Iran, the perspective that I’m offering is least to say, in Iran’s point of view… Internet filtering in Iran is almost as old as Internet itself, where previously, it had been concerned over the politically sensitive content and the pornographic sites… I gathered that in Nov 06, the SCCR handed down a decree that sites publishing “false information”, or comments that threatened the “unity of the country” would be banned, meaning that just about any site can face the probability of getting banned so long as it is deemed unfit by the government.

Apparantly, this hasn’t gone down very well with the Iranians. Many see this as “inept and over-prescriptive filtering“, which I tend to agree. To a large extent at least.. I feel that the “protecting our people from content that could potentially corrupt young minds” thing is a whole lot of crap. I believe that majority of us are mature and discerning enough to make a judgement call ourselves and having someone to tell us what not to do is just gonna create more of the rebellious streak in us. And to the minority that needs their impressionable minds looked after, thats just part and parcel of life. Evil lurks wherever Good goes.. thats a fact of life, thats history and if young impressionable minds could cause crimes, murders and wars centuries ago, I don’t think internet filtering will be of much help to these poor souls anyway… but thats just my point of view…

Setting my POV aside, this issue however, draws a fairly interesting comparison when you put it side-by-side China. The Chinese are obviously saying YES (then again, the recent Sichuan earthquake hints at a NO) but the Iranians are saying NO… to essentially the same thing…  But reading through the different articles online, the same old feeling hits me… Why bother if its a right or wrong? What matters most is obviously what the people of the nation wants. Do they want internet filtering or not should be the crux of the question, not whether it is right or wrong, should or shouldn’t, need or needn’t.

If it is what the nation’s people want, then its obviously a right, should and need, vice versa. I mean, yes, to a certain degree, some people might not know whats good and bad for them, but I would think majority of the people do. We keep talking anout how culture shapes our thoughts, our actions and our beliefs, so shouldn’t we let it shape how the internet should or should not work for us? Shouldn’t we be leaving these decisions for the people to decide, as a collective whole, as a nation instead of imposing our views and expectations on them?

Just a thought…
Grace

Our very first post! Well, the gals, Chole, Surekha and I will be posting nidbits of interesting articles, stats, findings etc on internet filering in Asia periodically and we will be discussing our thoughts on them.. Its kinda like an experient to see how much of information is actually filtered in Asia, how much do we, Asians, actually see and read on the internet.. (I know for one, that pornographic sites is heavily regulated in SIngapore)

To put things rather crudely, internet filtering is simply a euphemism for internet censorship. Will it might not be prevalent in the western civilization, it is pretty common here in Singapore… The recent China-Tibet debacle as well as the Mynmar incident that occured a few months back are all haunting reminders of not believing everything that you read online..

So the 3 gals shall start posting really soon and see what interesting results we derive…

-grace-