A senior central government
information official has urged local governments to be more open and
transparent, saying their attempt to block media coverage of negative incidents
was "too naive".
Wang Guoqing, vice-minister of the State Council
Information Office, said "blocking bad news" was becoming more difficult, given
the wide use of new information technologies such as the Internet, mobile phones
and the central government's commitment to information transparency.
has been repeatedly proved 'information blockage' is like walking into a dead
end," Wang told CCTV.
Wang revealed that some local government
spokespersons used to believe that some 90 percent of "bad news" could be
muffled while only 10 percent would
be unluckily exposed by the media.
However, because governments at all
levels had started to introduce a spokesperson scheme, information blockage was
becoming increasingly outdated and impractical, he said. Wang gave the
four-year-old spokesperson scheme a score of 60 points on a full-score of
100-point evaluation system.
The recent brick kiln slave scandal
highlighted the importance of a cooperative and forthcoming government to the
Having uncovered the illegal practice in April, Shanxi government
had started cracking down on illegal brick kiln owners and rescued the first
batch of slaves.
But keeping the information out of the media spotlight
until the scandal came under full public glare left the Shanxi government in a
very vulnerable position.
"Had the government kept the media and the
public informed, we would have seen different result on discussion of officials'
accountability," Wang said.
Mao Shoulong, a professor at Beijjing-based
Renmin University, said a lot of local governments were still weighing
the pros and cons of information
transparency. They thought "saying something wrong" could be as bad as
gagging the media.
implementation of The Decree of Government Information Openness, by which the
quality of being forthcoming will be accounted as the officials' accountability,
things will be better,"Mao said.
Brushing media aside in handling
incidents of public interest was destined to fail as public faith and support
would be lost.
"We should enlist the media in any emergency plans," Wang
In the wake of the openness decree, which was approved in January
and due to take effect next May, Wang said spokespersons alone were not enough
to satisfy the public's demand for information.
Government and Party
leaders at all levels should hone their news sense and improve media
communication skills, he said.
(China Daily 07/16/2007 page 2)
the pros and
（英语点津 Linda 编辑）
About the broadcaster:
Bernice Chan is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Originally from
Vancouver, Canada, Bernice has written for newspapers and magazines in Hong Kong
and most recently worked as a broadcaster for the Canadian Broadcasting
Corporation, producing current affairs shows and