Beijing, April 15 (IANS) Although journalists have the power to influence public opinion, this power is given to them to better fulfill their role as watchdogs, not to abuse it, a leading Chinese daily has said.
According to an opinion piece in the Global Times, a TV host warned on his microblog account that people should stop consuming yogurt and jelly products because of "some terrible secrets" in their manufacturing process. Another news reporter later said an industry source told him frozen yogurt used industry gelatin extracted from rotten leather shoes.
The web posts instantly stirred anger and panic from the public, the daily said.
However, a number of jelly producers soon questioned the reliability of the information. The web posts named no specific company but put the whole industry under scrutiny.
Journalists from other news media conducted a thorough research and concluded that the accusations on the jelly and yogurt industry were not true.
"The public needs watchdogs to safeguard its interest. But there are also law-abiding people earning their fortune through honest activities and it is irresponsible to smear the entire industry with weak accusations," the daily said.
"This is particularly the case for journalists. Although they have the power to influence public opinion, this power is given for them to better fulfill their role as watchdogs, not to abuse it," the daily said.
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