Last Updated 21 Apr 2020

Media Systems in China and the Us

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The world is filled with many diverse media systems. These media systems are built on many elements from cultural characteristics to media content. China, for instance has very distinct news reporting guidelines and regulations that affect the media content. In the United States media regulations affect what media we are exposed to and the news reporting that is present. These two media systems have some similarities but they differ greatly from each other in the way and extent that their media is regulated and by the way their news is reported and by who reports the news.

The United States has a very vibrant media system with many choices for consumers. The US is about 9. 7 million square kilometers with 278 million people. The most common languages spoken are English and Spanish. Out of the 278 million people, 97% are literate. The country is run by a democratic government and the president is Barack Obama. One of the most important parts of the US is the information system. It is one of the most quickly growing sectors of the economy and it has 144,000 businesses dedicated to media. Because of this, media is extremely important in everyday life.

Two important aspects of the United States media system that differentiate it from other large media systems are regulation and news reporting. To begin with, regulation in the US is based on democracy. All citizens enjoy the protection of speech under the first amendment which also protects freedom of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. But there is still some regulation. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) controls broadcast stations, amateur radio stations, and repeater stations, just to name a few.

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These users and stations must obtain and renew an annual license. Also, news stations must operate under licenses for their reporters to report on stories. Overall, the FCC controls six separate areas: broadband, competition, the spectrum (radio), the media, public safety and homeland security. Its main purpose is to promote safety by communicating and publicity. Regulation in the US also strongly affects newspapers and print media. Most newspapers, like broadcast stations, are part of chains that are owned by corporations. Currently, ten different companies own over half of the newspapers in circulation in the US today.

Gannett, Knight Rider and Tribune Co. are just a few of those corporations. Since newspapers are owned by powerful companies, there is serious concern that they will gain too much power and influence, but there are no restrictions in place against this. Unlike under the FCC, newspaper journalists only have to be licensed when covering campaigns, the White House, legislatures and sporting events. These journalists are issued credentials as needed. Even though licenses aren’t necessary, journalists face many laws such as those concerning libel and defamation.

This prohibits them from publishing false statements about people. Also, these journalists face privacy laws. Privacy laws differ between two different people First, AN ALL purpose public figure (Jennifer Aniston), IS someone who chooses to be forced into the public eye, THEY have less protection. Limited purpose public figures (politicians) can choose whether or not to be in the public eye and have slightly more protection. The journalist reporting on these people can be punished if they “challenge” the privacy of that person.

AS FOR CENSORSHIP, luckily, the government is not officially allowed to censor newspapers, magazines, broadcast stations or any other media in the US and there is no censorship agency. News reporting in the US is also very diverse. It has a very strong affect on the government’s policies. MOST PEOPLE CONSIDER THE NEWS REPORTING TO BE A CHECK ON THE GOVERNMENT’S POWER AND A CORRUPTION MONITOR. For example, at the most crucial point during the Vietnam War, the resignation of Nixon could be “directly correlated to the pressure by the media and the news” (Gale).

ALSO IT WAS THE INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING OF THE WASHINGTON POST THAT DISCOVERED AND REPORTED THE WATERGATE SCANDAL THAT LED TO THE RESIGNATION OF PRESIDENT RICHARD NIXON. (FIND A SOURCE) Currently, there are many news sources, such as newspapers and television. Newspapers subscribe to many varieties of news agencies depending on topic. The Wall Street Journal subscribes to business wires (agencies focusing on business). Bloomberg, Dow Jones, Reuters and Associated Press (AP) are other well known news wires. The Associated Press is the oldest news agency in the world.

It is a nonprofit agency which is funded by member subscriptions from over 121 countries. AP transmits data to over one billion people per day (Gale). In addition to newspapers, there are many television news stations. The first news stations were the Detroit News, Kansas City Star, and KDKA. But in 1980, CNN, a liberal news station, was born, and grew into one of the leading news companies in the US. CNN was the first 24 hour news network. Today, Piers Morgan and Anderson Cooper are well known names affiliated with CNN. Today a rival conservative station, Fox News, competes with CNN.

Fox has famous correspondents such as Sean Hannity and Mike Huckabee. In addition to these large news stations there is the BBC, Democracy Now and MSNBC and many local news stations that broadcast in over 100 other countries every day. In addition to news stations, there are comedic political shows such as the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and the O’Reilly Factor with Bill O’Reilly. China has a very different culture and media system than the US. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is a large country with about 1. 2 billion people. The most common languages spoken are Chinese and Mandarin. Out of the 1. 2 billion people, 92. % are literate. China has been governed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) since 1949 and is currently under Hu Jintao. The communist rule affects the Chinese media system strongly in many ways. The regulation of the media in China is very extreme. According to the PRC’s Constitution, “citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration” (Chinese Constitution). But these rights are not guaranteed. The government will not take the chance of being damaged by what the Chinese citizens say. Regulation begins with the CCP.

The CCP uses “central control of the press as a tool for public education, propaganda and mass mobilization towards socialist progress” (Gale). The mass media is not allowed to report any aspect of the Chinese policy making process, or any serious government event for that matter. Media regulation also exists IS DIRECTED THROUGH the Central Propaganda Department. This department deals with censorship from provincial to local township levels. It controls “state run culture, education, sports, science and technology and media sectors. ” Many compare this department with the church in medieval Europe (Westminster. c. uk). It is thought to keep the Chinese away from democracy. Newspapers, Television and Internet are also strongly regulated. All newspapers must be approved by the State Press and Publications Committee. Before the economic reform in 1992, all papers relied on state funding but after, 1/3 of those papers had private funding so they SUPPOSEDLY had freedom of speech—but they are still subject to censorship. Television cable stations are one of the few media sources ARE ALSO not funded by the government. They work off of cable fees. Lastly, the internet is highly regulated.

Websites must get qualifications certificates to post any type of information online from sports to news. People who violate these laws may face life in prison. News reporting in China is also very different HEAVILY REGULATED. There is ONLY one CCP mandated news agency called Xinhua News. It has had a monopoly on Chinese news since 1931. Xinhua is comprised of three major departments: domestic, international and the general office (entertainment). They release news daily, weekly and monthly including reports such as Zhongguo Zhengquan (business news and stock market) and Xinhua Meiri Dianxun (general interest report).

It is the “largest and most articulated internal news system in China” (Gale). It is divided into many “secrecy” groups on a need to know basis. The many levels of the Party bureaucracy control the daily operations of the Xinhua agency. In addition to Xinhua News Agency, China Central Television (CCTV) broadcasts news 24 hours a day in English. Also, an independent magazine called China Now, reports on social, economic and cultural news. In an article about Chinese citizens accessing BBC for the first time, citizens voiced their frustration of not being able to see western news publications even if they talked about events in China (BBC).

There are a few distinct similarities between the media systems of the US and China. First both countries have very high literacy rights, a very high number of newspapers and a equally large land mass to cover. Both countries television stations are not funded through the government and are either privately funded or funded through user fees. Also, both countries have news agencies that reach billions of people. Xinhua focuses on daily reports that are sent to the outside world while CNN has broadcasts in over 100 countries.

DESPITE THESE SIMILARITIES, There are many more differences between the US and Chinese media systems, though. China has twice as many television stations as the US although the US has ten times as many radio stations as China. “Reporters without Borders” ranks the US at 20 and China at 171, a drastic difference Concerning regulation, China does not have the guaranteed freedom of speech while the US does and Chinese journalists must be licensed at all times. There is no censorship agency in the US, but in China, the CCP censors every bit of media, making sure it is all favorable to the government.

Also, the Chinese Central Propaganda Department deals with censorship and propaganda from local to governmental levels while the US has no such department. The newspapers in China are sometimes government funded while all US newspapers are owned privately by corporations. Concerning news reporting, China only has one main news station (Xinhua) while the US has many (CNN, MSNBC and Fox) ALLOWING FOR HEALTHY COMPETITION. Most political preferences are represented in the US media while only one is represent in China.

China and the United States have very distinct media systems that make them very different from one another. China has very strict regulations making their news and print media very biased. The United States has relaxed rules and values the freedom of speech and press, which give the citizens a wide variety of news and media to choose from AND ENSURES THAT INFORMATION IS EASILY AND READILY AVAILABLE. THIS DIFFERENCE SERVES TO PROTECT DEMOCRACY IN THE US WHEREAS IN THE PEOPLES REPUBLIC OF CHINA CENSORSHIP AND CONTROL OVER THE MEDIA PROTECTS THE AUTHORITARIAN GOVERNMENT OF THE CCP.

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