How not to report in China

A major television network tells its staff: Please, be nice to our hosts

Published February 8, 2007 3:00PM (EST)

Jonathan Ansfield, a Newsweek stringer in Beijing, got his hands on a juicy memo from an unnamed media outlet's Foreign Desk editor to his China staff, dated last October, and posted it to the China Digital Times.

A few choice bits:

  • Falungong, Tiananmen -- "off-limits."
  • Don't go out of your way to do "anti-China" stories on "worsening pollution" or Chinese baby adoption.

Ansfield isn't saying who the network is that is behaving so badly, although he teases by noting that "it's not hard to guess its place of origin." Hmm, what major television network would compromise its reporting principles with such out-and-out pusillanimity?

But the real kicker is the last line:

"Appreciate if this email is not forwarded to anyone."

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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