Chinese ownership raises editorial independence questions at Forbes
Since a Hong Kong-based investment group purchased a majority stake in Forbes, there have been several instances of editorial meddling on stories involving China that raise questions about the magazine’s commitment to editorial independence, writes Isaac Stone Fish of The Washington Post.
Fish writes, “On Oct. 9, longtime China commentator and Communist Party critic Gordon Chang received an email from Avik S.A. Roy, the opinion editor at Forbes. ‘Due to a wide-ranging reorganization of Forbes’ content,’ Roy wrote, ‘we are going to be concluding our official relationship with you.’ Roy added, ‘As a result of the organization, the articles you’ve written for us will no longer be stored on the Forbes server nor appear at Forbes.com,’ according to the email Chang forwarded to me at my request.
“Many people who follow China — myself included — often disagree with Chang’s dire views of the country. That said, he’s a well-known China hawk. It’s very unusual for a publication to delete articles of a former contributor, unless there were credible allegations of editorial misconduct, which seems unlikely in this case. ‘I’m a huge fan of your work,’ Roy wrote in his email to Chang. (Roy directed my queries to a Forbes spokesperson. In an emailed statement, the spokesperson said: ‘Your premise that the investors are interfering with Forbes’ editorial independence is simply wrong. Our investors respect Forbes’ editorial independence and they do not get involved with Forbes’ editorial decisions.’) It’s unclear why Forbes terminated Chang. ‘Forbes was very good to me,’ Chang told me. ‘They would often promote my pieces and put them as the number one story on my website.’ After 2014, however, ‘they basically stopped promoting me. I don’t know the motivation, but that’s what occurred.'”
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