High Peaks Pure Earth has translated a rather bold and surprising statement made by a collective of Tibetan journalists online earlier this month.
The announcement was posted on the Tibetan language Chodme website on September 5, 2014 and concerns the creation of a new kind of journalism in relation to Tibet, recognising the influence of the Chinese government portals. The website to which the statement refers, China Tibet Online, is available in five languages including English.
The authors see as a problem the fact that Tibetans in Tibet acquire most news through the official information channels, including news about Tibet, and state their intention to instead strive for “authentic” media, at the same time appealing to individuals to join in and contribute.
What’s more surprising is that websites such as China Tibet Online are are under the control of the United Front who also publish the glossy magazine “China’s Tibet” in different languages.
The authors say they’ll pay attention to issues that are being discussed by ordinary people and also issues that are being discussed on social media, topics named are the new “Ten Virtues” and the netizen uproar over the lack of Tibetan script on the train tickets for the newly opened railway line connecting Lhasa and Shigatse. However, the authors are careful to state that all topics covered will not be “beyond legal bounds”.
This kind of statement is extremely rare for Tibetans given the sensitive media and information landscape in Tibet so it remains to be seen if all the plans in this announcement will be realised. However, the statement alone gives a strong indication that Tibetan journalists and writers are unhappy. The comments made in response to the blogpost in Tibetan welcome the announcement.
High Peaks Pure Earth would like to thank Palden Gyal from Merabsarpa Journal for the translation from Tibetan to English.
“A Brief Announcement from China Tibet Online”
To All Friends and Netizens,
The “China Tibet Post” is one of the pioneers of Tibetan websites since its inception in 2000. In April 2010, it changed its name to China Tibet Online (http://tb.tibet.cn). Today, with its news and information available in five different languages (Tibetan, Chinese, German, French & English), it has become one of the most prominent and principal online sources for acquiring news and information about Tibet, including for Tibetans in Tibet.
Starting this year, as a significant change and deviation from our past political attitudes and activities, we are committed to discard and disavow all of our previous activities of propaganda and politico-ideological engagements. We are striving towards “a fully qualified and authentic media”. Particularly, we are committed to reporting and writing about real social issues, livelihoods of people, conflicts and controversies in Tibet as they are. With our readers at the core of our service, we are confident and committed in delivering socially responsible, reliable news and articles. With journalistic integrity and scrupulous attention and investigation of issues at hand, we intend to report and spread news and information from big national and provincial issues to local news in a much efficient and effective manner, free of trashy and unfounded stories.
We hope and encourage all the dedicated and devoted professionals in the same field of mass media services as well as our online-friends in the Tibetan regions to participate in this project. As a collective responsibility of all the professionals and veterans in the field of journalism and mass communication, we are dedicated in serving the public with crucial and critical news and information to fulfil our purpose and promise.
We exercise our rights of journalism and mass media within the limits of the Central Government’s directives. With evidence and reasonable grounds, we intend to investigate and analyse a wide range of topics and issues from incompetent functioning of local and provincial governments to concerns of critical and crucial social issues. For instance, to be attentive to issues which are attracting much public discussion and deliberation on social media: The New Ten Virtues, Tibetan schools in Xining, Tibetan script on the Lhasa-Shigatse train tickets, ramifications of allowing domesticated animals to ingest leftovers and scraps and the like. In short, issues that are of crucial concern for everybody but not beyond legal bounds.
Currently, most Tibetan media networks and websites are either managed or are representative of the Party, and likewise, most articles published on there are translated. This is terribly dangerous and disconcerting. Ironically, even news and information concerning Tibet and Tibetans in Tibet are translated from other languages into Tibetan, and undoubtedly, such practices obscure and make it difficult to understand the real sentiments of the Tibetan public.
Those who would like to participate in this project; we highly encourage everybody to submit unpublished articles. To build on our journalistic experience and media competence, we follow the examples of advanced and well-respected media organizations and newspapers, and introduce features like special space for columnists. To name few such exemplary media organizations: besides the newly launched The Paper, Southern Weekly is another outstanding newspaper in China, and BBC and CNN are multinational media organisations that are highly recognised.
There is a huge prospect even for articles translated from other languages in our new initiative. With close attention to the overall structure (of articles) as well as clarity in its syntactical soundness, we urge all the participants to pay special attention to vernacular terms and their usage. After meeting all our technical requirements, we will consider the publication of your articles in subsequent interactions, individually.
There are, of course, rewards for the journalists and writers whose articles may be considered for publication. Based on both content and quality of the articles considered for publication, payments may vary between 150 to 200 Yuan per thousand Tibetan characters, and we also intend to create a space for long-term writers and columnists. One can earn roughly three thousand Yuan per month by working just for a few hours a week.
All in all, if you are interested and competent, we are confident and committed to open the door to a promising profession in the wide field of Tibetan mass media for you.
If you have any questions, please contact us:
Email: [email protected]
September 3, 2014