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Official CCP media lashing back at Weibo for setting the agenda

August 5, 2011

Yesterday morning (8/3) CCTV brought a short segment titled “微博的伦理底线在哪里” (Where is the moral bottom line of Microblogs?) attacking the credibility of information on different microblog services and claiming that they are sources of rumors, fraud, and hidden marketing.

And just now (5/8) Global Times English Edition published an editorial warning the media not to blindly follow the agenda set by weibo claiming that it is too emotional and extreemist:

Use Weibo as a guide, not a master – Global Times


Timing of the critique

The timing of this increased interest in microblogs does not seem coincdental. The storm of attention and messages concerning the recent Wenzhou train crash and the handling of the incident quickly evolved to a more general critique of government incompetence, corruption and disregard for for the ordinary citizen. The ability of weibo to sustain such a massive critique must have been a bit discerning to the CCP.

It seems that the initial response is to try and undermine the credibility of microblogs altogether. It is hardly new to anyone that microblogs can be full of rumors and be highly emotional, so why would official media feel the need to warn against that just now?

The power and weakness of any media with user generated content (UGC) is the lack of editorial filtering – a lot of unverified rumors will inevitably be submitted, but also some very relevant stories that would never have made it through official media channels. This is especially important in a media environment like China with heavy filtering in official media.

Critical commments

While there are certainly plenty of rumors and less-than-credible information on weibo and other microblog services the irony of CCTV questioning the morals of other media is not lost on the users commenting…

A few select comments from the page on

  • CCTV你的道德底线在哪里?
    [CCTV, where is your moral bottom line?]
  • 真是造谣也是他们贼喊捉贼
    [There certaily are lots of rumors, but this is also like a thief yelling “stop the thief”]

Apart from the comments, the segment naturally also sparked some debate on weibo – Oiwan Lam has collected some of the comments in a article on GlobalVoices:

China: Anger Over State TV Attack on Microblogging Platforms


From → Chinese media

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