Saturday, 16 July 2011

Communist China's Propagandists Welcomed; American Journalist Shut Out

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William JasperThe National Governors Association Annual Meeting is taking place in Salt Lake City, Utah, July 15-16. In addition to the usual business of discussing budgets, education, jobs, and economic growth, this year’s NGA meeting features a first-ever U.S.-China Governors Forum that has brought together provincial governors from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) with their American counterparts. In addition to the many Chinese reporters stationed here in the United States who are covering the event, the Chinese governors brought along their own  gaggle of “journalists,” photographers, and videographers from China to chronicle their American odyssey.

In January of this year, the international press freedom organization Reporters Without Borders reported that the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of China had issued a series of directives ordering all Chinese journalists to undergo a six-month course aimed at training  them, among other things, to “recognize and avoid politically sensitive topics.” The real purpose of the directives, says Reporters Without Borders is,  “in short, to make journalists themselves actors in censorship.”

The NGA appears to be cooperating with China’s Propaganda Department in this new initiative, whether it realizes it or not. While dozens of Beijing’s trained propagandists posing as journalists were welcomed to the NGA summit, The New American’s Senior Editor William F. Jasper was singled out for exclusion. As reported here earlier, the NGA’s Senior Press Secretary Krista Zaharias informed The New American in a series of emails that it was denying credentials for Mr. Jasper and his colleague, Sam Antonio, producer of Liberty News Network, because she did not consider The New American’s articles to be written “in an objective manner.”

Does the NGA consider the Party-line regurgitations produced by the throng of PRC propagandists to be written “in an objective manner”? Apparently so.

However, Mr. Jasper, a seasoned journalist with more than 30 years of investigative reporting, was not deterred. He and Mr. Antonio are attending the NGA Summit and reporting — in spite of the NGA’s disgraceful attempt to employ China-styled censorship.

The accompanying video was taken Friday, July 15, at the NGA’s program at the University of Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium.

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Thumbnail photo at top: William F. Jasper

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