CNN accused of bending the truth about Tibet
Issued on: Modified:
This image is all over Chinese discussion boards. Web-users are saying that the photo, published by CNN, proves that the American channel is manipulating information about the Tibet crisis in order to cast China in a negative light. UPDATE (19 March 2.30pm): CNN has sent us a statement in response to the claims, saying that the image was cropped due to space constraints. .
This image is all over Chinese discussion boards. Web-users are saying that the photo, published by CNN, proves that the American channel is manipulating information about the Tibet crisis in order to cast China in a negative light.
In comments posted on Hong Kong and Chinese discussion forums like Shanghaining and 28discuss.com, Chinese Internet users accuse CNN of editing images of the unrest in Tibet in order to omit evidence of Tibetans acting violently. The critics say that in the version of the photo published by CNN (on the left), for example, CNN intentionally cropped out the Tibetan rioters who appear to be throwing stones at a military van. CNN denies the allegation, saying the image in question was cropped because of space constraints on the CNN Web site and that the organization's coverage has been impartial (see full statement below).
The riots represented by CNN (with images taken from CCTV)
Comments about the image posted on the Hong Kong forum 28discuss.com
"CNN is known to bend the truth in its reports."
"They did the same thing in Iraq."
"[The riots in Tibet] were orchestrated by the west."
"There were nothing but vandals."
Comment from China specialist Cai Chongguo on the controversy:
This doesn't surprise me. A lot of Chinese people believe that CNN is an organ of the CIA. They suck up all the official Chinese propaganda, which has been spouting that the foreign media wants to boycott the Olympic Games and that the Dalai Lama is behind the Tibet riots. You have to take into account that they don't have access to anything that contradicts this stuff, especially when it comes to Tibet. Chinese TV channels put together shots of the riots without any explanation about the origin of the conflict. Speeches that deviate from official limits are censored. A quick example: I saw a report this morning on CCTV's website. There were more than 4000 comments...but only 1000 were visible. Not one comment criticising the intervention in Tibet got past the censors. But there are Chinese people who support the Tibetans, even if they're a minority. They're the ones who've had enough of their authoritarian government and who are participating in the riots by proxy."
The riots represented by the Chinese state TV channel CCTV.
CNN sent the following statementThe image in question had to be cropped to fit the standard story-size image of 292 by 219 pixels used on CNN.com. It was impossible to include both the drama of the crashed vehicle on the left and the protesters on the right in the same crop, but in all cases the image was captioned: "Tibetans throw stones at army vehicles as a car burns on a street in the capital of Lhasa."
Having reviewed the vast content used on cnn.com to reflect the ongoing situation in Tibet, CNN not only stands by its decision to publish this particular image, but also refutes all allegations by bloggers that CNN distorts its coverage of the events in Tibet to portray either side in a more favourable light.
CNN's editorial mission is to report global news accurately and impartially and our online coverage through the use of words, images and video, always reflects a wide range of opinions and points of view.
We have published images showing violence by Tibetans against the Chinese -- see yesterday's story which shows Tibetan youths attacking a Chinese man:
We have also published video from the Chinese media apparently showing Tibetans attacking Chinese interests in Lhasa.