In a display of courage that puts Google to shame, Chinese media professor Yuen-Ying Chan on Wednesday attacked the company for its craven cave-in to the nation's communist government on the issue of censorship [WAMN: 26-Jan-06].
The female Professor Chan is clearly better endowed in the cojones department than Sergey, Larry and their chicken-hearted accountants.
Speaking yesterday at an al-Jazeera conference on press freedom, Chan pointed an accusing finger at the US internet titan: "It's one thing for China to block the site but another for Google to help block the site. Smart [local] internet users have a way to get to the [uncensored] site. There was no reason for Google to help [the state censors]."
She continued with an appeal to the global media industry:: "China is a huge market and there is an opportunity for international conglomerates to help build journalism in China."
Chan, who lectures both at the Journalism and Media Studies Centre in Hong Kong, and the Cheung Kong School of Journalism and Communication at Shantou University, didn't buy Google's excuse for submission to censorship.
Google couldn't hide behind the argument it was simply obeying Chinese law, she said. "It's not true that by doing that Google is observing the law. There are no laws in China to say that sites can be blocked. Censors could be challenged within China and that could happen." Chan now expects a challenge to the search engine's censorship to emerge from within China.
She praised al-Jazeera, saying it is seen by China's media and intellectual elite as "an intriguing phenomenon, as an independent voice standing up to the US media and global powers. Chinese journalists are looking up to al-Jazeera to see how we can do it."
Continued Chan: "The first challenge is managing the transition from state-controlled and state-owned organisations to a market industry. All media is still state-controlled and owned and but the managers are asked to make money. The state has cut subsidies so [media organisations] have to sink or swim."
Data sourced from MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff