China code has detractors at Bloomberg

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bloomberg

A code used by Bloomberg News editors to keep sensitive stories away from the eyes of China’s powerful and elite has detractors within the organization, writes, Edward Wong of the New York Times.

Wong writes, “Within Bloomberg, the code has its critics. ‘I think of this as self-censorship,’ said one journalist, who added that editors choose to apply the code to any article that might offend senior Chinese officials. The code’s defenders, though, explained to their colleagues in internal conversations that Bloomberg must abide by the definition of its State Council license — or at least by the narrowest definition put forward by Chinese officials. Two Bloomberg spokespeople have declined to comment on the code.”

Wong later writes, “One Bloomberg employee said the existence of Code 204 can result in writers internalizing self-censorship. The code then becomes unnecessary because the writer has already decided to withhold information in order to ensure that terminal users in China can read the story, he said.

“‘If you wanted your story not to go by that code, then you don’t make sensitive references,’ he said. ‘This where the self-censorship gets self-reinforcing.’”

Read more here.