Speaking up about the coronavirus – but at what cost? | The Listening Post (Full)

On The Listening Post this week: For a moment, China saw public anger and real news reporting about the coronavirus go uncensored. How come? Plus, the sound and fury of India’s news anchors.

Speaking up about the coronavirus – but at what cost?
The death of Li Wenliang, a doctor in Wuhan, the Chinese city at the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, has caused collective outrage online.

Li was amongst the first to raise the alarm. He was then taken into custody and forced to confess to wrongdoing – spreading rumours – essentially for doing his job.

It is rare for the Chinese to openly criticise the government; rarer still when those criticisms on social media are not instantly deleted by censors.

And for Chinese journalists, there was a temporary window that opened for some hard-hitting investigative reporting. It appears that that window has since been closed – replaced by what Beijing calls 「managed transparency」.


Jane Li -Tech reporter, Quartz

Maria Repnikova – Assistant professor, Georgia State University

Muyi Xiao – Visuals editor, ChinaFile

Liu Xin – Host and journalist, CGTN

On our radar:

Richard Gizbert speaks to Filipina journalist Maria Ressa, head of the news website Rappler, about President Rodrigo Duterte’s move to shut down ABS-CBN, the country’s leading broadcaster.

Arnab Goswami and the newsification of hate in India
Over the past decade, Indians have witnessed the rise of a new breed of news anchor: brash, aggressive, unapologetically nationalistic.

They trade in conflict, fear and spectacle – it is a formula that tends to pay off in the ratings and online.

The Listening Post’s Meenakshi Ravi looks closely at a prime practitioner of this news style: Arnab Goswami of Republic TV.


Pragya Tiwari – Delhi-based writer

Kunal Kamra – Comedian

Aditya Raj Kaul – Former senior editor, Republic TV

Manisha Pande – Executive editor, Newslaundry

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