China bans celebrity content and Kashmir's disappearing

in December 10th, 2021

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China bans celebrities from showing wealth and extravagance online

Sat Dec 4

Regulating the internet may be tricky business, but China is raising eyebrows with their unusual tactics. Similar to the U.S., the technology giants of China have been gaining what the country considers “excess wealth” since the rise of companies like Alibaba (China’s Amazon) and Tencent (owners of China’s WhatsApp).

Now, the country has banned celebrities from displays of extravagance and wealth, a type of content that ignites controversy, works against the country’s core socialist values, and drives traffic to the platform which then rakes in an objectionable level of revenue from the ad views (from the government's perspective). The ban also prohibits “unethical content,” such as spreading rumors, posting fake news, or encouraging fans to partake in “illegal fundraising or irrational investment.”

The same day the ban was announced, 88 artists were banned from livestreaming by the China Association of Performing Arts. This specific ban aims to prevent unethical performers from having a place in the industry, such as Chinese Canadian pop star Kris Wu who was recently accused of sexual assault.

So isn’t this regulation helping keep out bad players? Yes, but at a cost. China has used its governing power to...

  • Crack down on effeminate men on television, claiming such “sissy” men discourage younger men from being masculine enough — especially in the same vein as the mainstream sleek and fashionable look of some South Korean and Japanese celebrities.
  • Limit online gaming to three hours a week for anyone under 18. Chinese parents support these rules, saying the online environment is dangerous for children.
  • Completely remove a celebrity’s online and media presence. Recently, tennis star Peng Shuai (who accused a former senior member of the Communist party of sexual assault) lost access to Twitter, Facebook, and domestic Chinese sites Weibo, Renren, and Youku.

Some believe China’s actual fear is the power of social media in enabling collective action. For example, the country’s massive fan groups have been an epicenter for political discussions that China seeks to control, such as Hong Kong protests.

Disappearing archives could erase a portion of Kashmir’s history

Thu Nov 23

There are few things worse than losing hours of work before you hit the “save” button — but how about seeing four years worth of work disappear overnight? Many journalists in Kashmir are experiencing just that, unable to find their previously published work in the archives of their various local newspapers.

What’s going on? It depends on who you ask.

  • Some editors argued their website was simply going through an update and would include archives again shortly, but months passed since that reassurance and journalists still do not see many articles published before 2020 available online.
  • Others claim that the content was lost amidst regular hacks over the years or were lost due to technical issues.

But anonymous reporters believe the disappearing archives are intentional. Kashmir experienced high political tension and oppression in 2019, most notably through a 17-month internet shutdown. For example, Rising Kashmir (a popular English language daily), has been directed by its editor-in-chief to switch focus from the hard-hitting journalism of yesteryear to more stories of youth and positivity.

The concern? Newspaper archives serve as a public record of the world, and are relied on as educational and reference tools for historians, genealogists, activists, and more. That said, it’s easy to see why editorial leadership would shy away from restoring content in a disputed territory like Kashmir where journalists are often targeted and/or killed for what they write.

Below The Fold Bytes

A Win Against Discrimination

As male detectives around her were permitted private offices and career advancement opportunities, Boston’s female police detective Donna Gavin was denied time and time again. Taking her discrimination case to court 3+ years ago, Gavin has now been awarded $2 million — a win towards shattering the glass ceiling.

>> Read More

Same Lockdown, Different Reason 

New Delhi, India entered lockdown again last month — but not for COVID. Air pollution in the region has reached such thick and toxic levels that schools and government offices shut down. In fact, measurements showed harmful airborne particles present at 20x the safe limit recommended by WHO.

>> Read More

🎬 Action of the Week

Determining if and how social media should be regulated is a messy subject. There may come a time soon where you’ll be asked to vote your preferences — some states in the U.S. have even started movement on this front. Take a few extra minutes this week to better understand what social media regulation would entail.

This Week's Resources

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