Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply concerned that a restrictive order
has stopped journalists from going to report on yesterday’s deadly mudslide in
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,
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.
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.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
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