OH BOY, THE New York Times launches a China edition. Other companies can dodge politics while sticking to business, but what happens when the world's gold standard for journalism and the free press gets censored, as has just happened? I'd love to be a fly on the wall as editorial and marketing execs debate that one. They'll have to kowtow to the august publisher and the multi-billionaire owner.
Will the Times blink and succumb to market pressures? Or, since the company is under U.S. federal court jurisdiction, might it attempt an international test case in media law? And if that were to happen, would modern China ever cede legal sovereignty to a Western court on a U.S. constitutional issue? Hard to imagine. (In cross-border securities litigation, a different area of law, shareholders have gained a little more legal ground in recent years to sue foreign companies.)
Interesting era, for sure. In the meantime, Happy July 4th, when we celebrate American independence from Great Britain in 1776. Do you think they play Sousa marching band music with fireworks in Beijing? And who is the Floyd Abrams of China? Just wondering.
- Committee to Protect Journalists, "The New York Times takes on China's censors" by Madeline Earp.
- Nieman Journalism Lab, "Krugman, translated: The promise and risk of The New York Times’ Chinese-language site" by Justin Ellis.
- TechCrunch, "One Week In, New York Times’ Chinese Social Media Accounts Shut Down, Site Still Up" by Ingrid Lunden.