On International Labour Day, the
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is concerned by reports that media
outlets in China and Hong Kong are using the excuse of the global financial
crisis to lay off workers and reduce their benefits despite maintaining good
The IFJ urges media businesses in China to refrain
from staff cuts and reductions in workers’ benefits, and to recognise that decent
working conditions are essential for providing a quality news service.
Press freedom is also a significant
factor in promoting quality media. As World Press Freedom Day approaches on May
3, the IFJ also reminds governments at all levels in China of their obligations to
respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression, enshrined in Article 19
of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Article 19 states that everyone has
the right to freedom of opinion and of expression. This right includes freedom
to hold opinions without interference, and to impart information and ideas
through any media regardless of frontiers.
However, the press freedom situation
remains worrying. Since early this year, China’s Central Government has
stepped up censorship on online reporting and imposed new restrictions on
In addition, a new regulation
requires that all Mainland news assistants working for foreign organisations be
employed through the Government’s Personnel Service Corporation. They are
required to report only “positive information”.
Meanwhile, provincial officials in
the territories have blocked foreign press and media based in Hong Kong and
Macau from interviewing people, even though regulations introduced in October
2008 and February 2009 permit them to do so where interviewees give their
Macau’s officials have been
especially restrictive, twice barring a Hong Kong
journalist from entering the territory to conduct his work.
The IFJ notes that China’s President,
Hu Jiantao, pledged at the CPC National Congress in October 2007 to uphold the
right to access information. This right is also included in the National Human
Rights Action Plan of China (2009-2010).
The IFJ calls on China’s Government
and authorities at all levels to honour Mr Hu’s promise across the country and
further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries