Media Muckraking

In recent weeks and months, a series of food safety and public health issues in China have been reported in the domestic media, relying principally on undercover reporting. Bread past the expiration date being sold in Guangzhou. Dumplings past the sale date being reprocessed with colored dies and put back on store shelves in Shanghai. In all of these cases, the government offices responsible for monitoring and ensuring food safety and public health seem to have taken a passive, backseat role, acting only when an issue grabs public attention through media reports. Some in China have argued that this exposes the failure of the government in dealing with these issues, and shows that the government suffers from a kind of “media dependency” (媒体依赖症). In this cartoon, posted by artist Shang Haichun (商海春) to his QQ blog, a character labeled “undercover NEWS” with a television camera for a head rushes off to cover a story, dragging a government bureaucrat by the nose. The bureaucrat holds a tablet with that reads, “Food Safety.”.

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