Chinese media needs to improve to compete

Updated: 2014-03-20 07:43

By Li Wei(China Daily)

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As the missing Malaysia Airlines plane continues to grab the headlines worldwide, the gap between Chinese and Western media in covering the incident has become ever more evident. During the first few days after the aircraft vanished from civilian radars, Chinese media criticized Malaysia Airlines for delaying the release of information, while their Western counterparts began to question the Malaysian government for suppressing crucial facts.

The gap has only become more obvious thereafter, as Chinese media have tried relentlessly to interview family members of the missing passengers aboard the plane, their stories have soon gone from being touching to getting emotional, while reporters that have been sent to cover the search and rescue operations have failed to collect any useful information. During this time, Western media replaced the Malaysian authority as the source of up-dated information. The Wall Street Journal, for instance, referenced engine data which its sources claimed indicated the plane could have remained in the air for a substantial period of time after it recorded its last contact with the ground. Before long, CNN quoted a classified analysis of electronic and satellite data suggesting that the flight likely crashed either in the Bay of Bengal or elsewhere in the Indian Ocean. Reuters, too, cited unidentified sources familiar with the investigation that whoever was piloting the jet was following navigational waypoints that would have taken the plane toward India's Andaman Islands.

Following these claims, the Malaysian government felt pressured to hold a news conference on Saturday, during which Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak suggested the disappearance of the jetliner might be the result of "deliberate action by someone on the plane".

The media disclosures also brought an appeal for international search efforts, taking the search operations into a new phase. However, Chinese media cannot claim the credit for this.

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