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Nine Entertainment Co's newspapers copping flack over China fluff pieces

Last week we brought you the story of Nine Entertainment Co's newspapers and their unholy China alliance.

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Seems there are a few unhappy Entertainment Company campers - and it's comforting to know that at least one MP gets it too.

 

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Nine Entertainment has come under heavy criticism from one of its most senior journalists and government MPs concerned about the growing role of Chinese influence for continuing to publish Chinese Communist Party “propaganda” in The Sydney Morning Herald.

The masthead inserted the China Daily supplement last ­Friday, which praises the Chinese government and its response to the coronavirus outbreak, despite several of the organisation’s most senior journalists reporting extensively about the issue of ­Chinese influence.

Chris Uhlmann, political editor of Nine News, who has written extensively about the creeping ­influence of the CCP in Australia, told The Australian the China Daily insert was “extremely disturbing”. “Since the moment the decision was made (in 2016) to have the China Daily insert in The Sydney Morning Herald, I’ve made it clear that I’ve found it an extremely disturbing development that Communist Party propaganda has the apparent endorsement of an Australian media organisation,” he said. “I said that before I joined Nine and I haven’t changed my opinion.”

Liberal MP Andrew Hastie, the chair of parliament’s intelligence and security committee, has been a vocal opponent of China’s authoritarian rise and ­attempts to exert influence in Australia. He was highly critical of the newspaper continuing to insert the supplement.

“The Australian people are ­increasingly sceptical of our political and civic institutions, including the media,” he said. “Printing foreign government propaganda — whether as liftouts or unfiltered embassy talking points — does not build trust with the public,” Mr Hastie said. Both Uhlmann and Mr Hastie have been banned from travelling to China as a result of their strong positions. In the recent Quarterly Essay, Peter Hartcher, political editor and international editor of the SMH, spoke about the serious challenge facing Australia to confront growing attempts by the CCP to obtain as much influence and power “as it can possibly get”.

Multiple Walkley Award-winning investigative journalist Nick McKenzie has also reported ­extensively on the Chinese government’s clandestine attempts to insert its influence.

The eight-page China Watch pullout promotes China’s government throughout. The second page story (“China’s fight to contain virus wins wide acclaim”) quotes the state-run Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, and praises the Chinese government’s various ­responses. “China has taken the most comprehensive and rigorous containment and mitigation measures, and many go well beyond the requirements of the International Health Regulations,” it said.

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