8 Jan 2013

Strike against censorship at paper

5:38 am on 8 January 2013

Editorial staff at a Chinese newspaper are on strike in a rare protest against censorship.

The row was sparked last week when a New Year message in the Southern Weekly calling for reform was changed by propaganda officials.

Staff wrote two letters calling for the Guangdong provincial propaganda chief to step down. Another row next began over control of the paper's microblog.

Almost 100 editorial personnel then went on strike.

The BBC reports that Southern Weekly is known for hard-hitting investigations and for testing the limits of freedom of speech.

Media in China are supervised by propaganda departments that often change content to align it with party thinking.

In an editorial on Friday referring to the row, the Global Times, a state-run newspaper said:

"The reality is that old media regulatory policies cannot go on as they are now. The society is progressing, and the management should evolve."

However, it also noted that "no matter how the Chinese media is regulated, they will never become the same as their Western counterparts".