The how and why of the Tianjin blasts

As I noted yesterday, there have been some exceptional examples of reporting on the Tianjin explosions in the Chinese media, despite unrelenting efforts on the part of the Chinese authorities to contain the information fallout, what official media pundits in the social media age often like to call a “public opinion crisis.”

Some of these reports have (or perhaps soon will) disappear from the internet or from social media platforms. But it is important to note both the willingness and the ability of Chinese journalists to do real reporting and resist control attempts where opportunity gaps appear.

Writing at the Global Investigative Journalism Network, my colleagues Ying Chan and Karen Chang have detailed some of the early efforts of Chinese media “to probe the why and how of the tragedy”:

In spite of official efforts to control news coverage of last week’s deadly explosions in the Chinese port city of Tianjin, Chinese media have responded swiftly not only to cover the fast-moving disaster, but also to probe the why and how of the tragedy.

Within hours of the blast, leading Chinese media, both traditional and online, began investigating reasons for the toxic facilities to be built next to residential developments, the ownership of the storage, the failure of government oversight, and the botched response to the disaster. CONTINUE READING >>


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