Wednesday, 25 August 2021

South China Morning Post, update bias report

Click to enlarge and clarify
I did the first review of opinion reporting in the South China Morning Post back in January 2020, then in June 2020, and just now the most recent. I look at the most recent three weeks of the paper, focussing on the opinion pages -- Editorials, Op-eds and Letters. I count only the ones that deal with China or the Hong Kong government, policies and practice.

I assign them three categories, all decided by me, so there's no doubt some of my own bias may creep through, though I do try to be disinterested. And I don't hold it out to be terribly serious or rigorous. It's a Q&D look at it, you might say.

The three categories are:  Critical, Pro or Neutral. "Critical" means that a piece criticises Beijing or the Hong Kong government about some aspect of policy or practice; "Pro" obviously, the opposite. The "Neutral" category might be an article that makes suggestions about policy to the Hong Kong government, or makes a balanced criticism of, say, both the US and China.

Anyway, here it is in the chart above, for what it's worth. There's an uptick in the number of "Pro" articles, op-eds and letters and corresponding drop in the number that are Critical. I guess that's not too surprising. Neutral is steady. 

All up, given what's been happening here -- for example what I posted this morning about retroactive censorship -- it's a reasonable picture, better than we might have expected, and shows, perhaps, that the editors of the SCMP are being brave. Or perhaps it's that Beijing doesn't care about an English language paper -- let the gweilos play in their little sandpit.