China Bans Reporting on Deadly Mudslide

The International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply concerned that a restrictive order

has stopped journalists from going to report on yesterday’s deadly mudslide in

north-west China.

 

The IFJ learned that a restrictive order was sent by China’s Central Propaganda Department on August 8

which states that no journalists should be sent to the vicinity of the mudslide

in Zhouqu County,

Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture,

Gansu Province.

 

The mudslide has reportedly killed at least 127 people and more

than 1000 people were missing, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency.

 

“The IFJ urges China’s

central authorities to lift this ban, as transparent reporting of natural

disasters provides up-to-the-minute information that can help save lives,” IFJ

General Secretary Aidan White said.

 

“The IFJ understands the safety of journalists and media workers

is important, and it should be up to journalists and their employers to

determine the level of risk involved in reporting the disaster.”

 

According to Xinhua, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and some officials

with the State Council left Beijing for Zhouqu County

on August 8 soon after the disaster happened.

 

According to Southern

Metropolis newspaper, a number of foreign geologists had warned in 2008 of

the potential risks of mudslides in the area, but the local government did not

take the necessary precautions. The report said that in the same year more than

60 landslides happened, but no deaths were reported.

 

The

IFJ urges the All Chinese Journalists’ Association to remind all media outlets of

the importance of taking proper safety precautions for

employees, including providing insurance and adequate training in the reporting

of natural disasters.

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents more than 600,000 journalists in 125 countries

 

Find the IFJ

on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific