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Investigative Journalism, Transparency and the Chinese Government

Sun, October 28, 2012 4:05 PM | Deleted user

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The New York Times' superb investigative journalism about corruption and duplicity among the Chinese government has helped the world move one step closer to trust and transparency. We are reminded of Thomas Jefferson’s view of the press and trust in government. Jefferson said, "The functionaries of every government have propensities to command at will the liberty and property of their constituents. There is no safe deposit for these but with the people themselves, nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe," to Charles Yancey in 1816.

Jefferson understood that power without accountability leads to corruption. The New York Times has done for China what it did for the US during Watergate – increased transparency. Transparency is essential for any government, or for that matter, any company or institution, to maintain trust and legitimacy. While things can get done quickly in secret, there is no means to ensure fairness in decisions and resource allocation. When the interests of the elite begin to be served (unfairly), it is only a matter of time before trust erodes and with it the cooperation of the people. Kudos to the New York Times for offering the Chinese people a path forward to reforming the system and restoring trust.

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