The Chinese government recently passed a law banning news organizations from publishing stories sourced on social media.
According to Edward Wong and Vanessa Piao of The New York Times, this law is an attempt to diminish the power of online social networks, making it harder for protestors or dissidents to organize and publicize information deemed as potential threats to the stability of the Chinese regime.
Wong and Piao report that “scholars of the Chinese news media say this is another attempt by the government of President Xi Jinping to tighten the vise around the practice of journalism and to restrict the flow of information online.”
Qiao Mu, a journalism professor, noted that the law aims to restrict how ordinary Chinese citizens learn about the news.
Because China has no legal protections for freedom of speech and the press, its government can restrict these essential freedoms with little difficulty.
Thankfully, such blatant censorship would be harder to carry out in the United States because of the First Amendment’s legal protections, a flourishing and well-established press, and multiple competing social media networks.