The remarks of Hu Shuli, editor-in-chief of the independent Caixin Media, come despite widespread criticisms over Beijing's clampdown on critics and perception that the media are often told to toe the official line.
"It is not mainly from the government side," Hu, dubbed "the most dangerous woman in China" for her investigative and scathing reporting, told the Foreign Correspondents' Club in Hong Kong.
"Quite a lot of the (efforts) to stop the news is from the commercial side... from people who don't want to be criticised," said Hu, who is also the former editor of China's popular Caijing magazine.
Hu is widely credited with making Caijing one of China's most respected publications, known for reporting that pushed the limits of what is allowed in a national media tightly controlled by the ruling Communist Party.
She left Caijing in 2009 amid intense speculation that she was battling management efforts to silence her editorial team, sparking mass resignations by reporters, editors and salespeople at the magazine, according to reports.
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