Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply concerned
that the Guangdong Propaganda Department tried to interfere with local media coverage
of a high-speed rail disaster on July 23 in Wenzhou,
east, which killed at least 35 people.
The IFJ has learned that the Guangdong
Propaganda Department used records which noted the journalists that attended a
July 24 press conference arranged by the railway ministry, to contact employers
and pressure them to ask the journalists to leave the scene of the accident.
“Six local media outlets were asked to
demand that their journalists leave Wenzhou
by the Guangdong Propaganda Department,” said a Mainland journalist, who wished
to remain anonymous.
The media organisations affected
included newspapers Yeng Cheng Evening,
Guangshou Commercial, 21 Century Media, Guangzhou Daily and its sister publication Information Times Daily, and Southern Television.
“This is the propaganda department’s
usual practice after deadly disasters occur,” the journalist said.
The journalist said a similar tactic
was employed with journalists and media organisations when an aircraft crashed in
Yichun, Heilong Jiang
Province, on August 24,
2010, when 42 people died and 54 people were injured.
“The IFJ holds great concerns that registration lists are being
used to exert pressure on media organisations and individual journalists to
leave the scene of a breaking news story,” the IFJ
“It appears that the reason Chinese authorities require
registration at press conferences is to monitor journalists and then attempt to
influence their reporting.”
The IFJ calls on the
Guangdong Propaganda Department to cease the practice of pressuring media
companies and journalists covering matters of key public concern.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
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