As the world is eagerly looking at the Middle East and the Arab world for the next phase of ongoing season of revolution, Chinese authorities are anxiously cracking down on any attempt to start the "Jasmine Revolution" in the country.
Los Angeles Times reports that online calls for protests in China is being dealt with very harshly. To stop any showing of dissent, Chinese web monitors have even banned the name of American Ambassador to Beijing and any mention of "Jasmine Revolution".
In a way, Chinese authorities are pushing people away from the wave rising in Middle East. What is the role of the media in this situation? In particular the international media, because we cannot expect the Chinese media to come out openly and demand change, at least at this point.
What I am seeing that the international media, especially the US media, is not giving enough space to the calls for change in China. Although in the past they have played up the human rights story and the issue of Chinese products and their safety standard; in this very important issue they are surprisingly quiet and slow.
I suspect one big reason for this, as US economy is still under water and China is a major player in the country's economy they do not want to do anything that contributes to de-stabilization of China and thus hurt the US. Major US companies are heavily invested in China and they are the big advertisers too.
You can clearly see that any media organization which has to make profit and satisfy shareholders is never really free to pursue stories based on their importance. One way or other they get tied down. I am not saying that state funded and community funded media is the way to go, but we cannot ignore the fact that free media is never really free as long as we attach the profit clause.
So, as the Chinese authorities try to keep the streets quite and monitor the web, will the Chinese people rise up like the Egyptians? Because media blackout alone will not keep the people silent. One important weapon with the Chinese authorities is money. Unlike Egypt, the Chinese are progressing on almost every front (forget human rights and free press) and if the masses are too busy getting rich or trying to get rich, the word revolution does not hold much punch.