Defamation and the media in China.
Chen, Xiao Yan.
Date of Issue2008
Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information
This study examines defamation and the media in China through a social-legal approach. It challenges the conventional understanding that defamation litigation against the media often includes the conflicting interests of reputation and free speech, and that defamation litigation is used by the Chinese authority to suppress the media. Through interviews with media lawyers, journalists and editors and analysis of court-published cases and cases from Chengdu, the study found that in the Chinese context, although the media speak with the imprimatur of the state, most cases were started by unprivileged, ordinary people. Often, free speech arguments were not invoked. With commercialization, an economic calculus rather than free speech weighed haevier on the media's decisions in defamation actions. This study also found defamation litigation is less likely to be abused to suppress the media or free speech if the law focuses on redressing reputation and is narrowly defined to serve such a legitimate purpose.
DRNTU::Social sciences::Mass media::Media law, ethics and policy
Nanyang Technological University