13/10/2017
 

National Congress: An open letter to the NPC

A banner advertising the 19th National Congress that starts on October 18, 2017. Credit: Greg Baker/AFP

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), which represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries, call on the National Congress of the Communist Party of China Press Centre (NPC) to ensure fair and transparent accreditation for journalists for the upcoming 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of the Republic of China.

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The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), which represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries, call on the National Congress of the Communist Party of China Press Centre (NPC) to ensure fair and transparent accreditation for journalists for the upcoming 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of the Republic of China.

The IFJ appreciate procedures and services put in place by the committee for journalists covering the National Congress, including internet access, increased access to computers and other technology, and access to a designated ‘delegate corridor’ at the Great Hall of the People.

However, concerns and complaints have been raised to the IFJ, that several journalists from reputable media outlets have not obtained accreditation, without a clear reason. As of October 13, several journalists from Hong Kong-based Ming Pao Daily, Cable Television and the South China Morning Post have not been granted accreditation. It is also unclear, when the journalists and media workers will receive the outcome of their applications.

It has also been brought to the IFJ’s attention that Apple Daily and HK01 are yet to acquire their press accreditation in Mainland China.

The IFJ is calling on the NPC to ensure the accreditation process is transparent, and provide detail s about the delays in the outstanding applications.

Several other changes for the upcoming 19th National Congress will have implications for media access and press coverage. The change to the number of journalists able to enter the venue to cover press conferences, and the fact that journalists must submit their name for permission to cover these beforehand, highlights the attempts by the NPC to control the media coverage and information out of the National Congress.

The second change that raises serious concerns for the IFJ, relates to foreign journalists and the need to submit interview application forms in advance before interviews will be granted. The new rule, follows on from the State Council issued Regulations on Reporting Activities in China by Foreign Journalists following the Olympic Games in 2008. It will weaken the ability of foreign journalists to freely report and cover the National Congress.

The continued attempts by the NPC to control the flow of information from the National Congress through limiting the access to the media, will only work to raise further questions about the narrative that the Communist Party is trying to portray. It is unacceptable that journalists are not been granted their accreditation, despite being government-accredited journalists in China.

The IFJ calls on the National Congress of the Communist Party of China and the officer in charge of the press centre to fast track the approval of all outstanding journalist accreditations. At the same time, we urge the press centre to withdraw the two new rules, regarding who can cover press conferences and conduct interviews.

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

                           Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

             Find the IFJ on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IFJAsiaPacific

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