China Imposes Yet More Restrictions on Journalists

 

The International Federation of Journalists

(IFJ) condemns instructions to media issued by China’s Prison Bureau and Central

Propaganda Department that they must only report information distributed

through official channels.

 

The order,

dated April 10, prevents journalists

from reporting on the welfare, death

or injury of prison inmates unless the information is sourced from the Prison

Bureau. The Central Propaganda Department reportedly said such information could

be manipulated and used against prison authorities.

 

The addition of this topic to China’s list of banned topics

occurs shortly after the publication of news reports about the suspicious

circumstances of the death of Liu Yushan,

35, an inmate at  Gaoming District Prison,

who was discovered dead at the prison.

 

After reportedly finding bruises on his son’s

body and injuries to his feet, Liu’s

father has challenged official reports that he died of a heart attack.

 

Meanwhile,

interference by provincial officials continues to disrupt journalists’ work on

other issues.

 

The IFJ learned that the editor of the

government-owned website Tianshannet.com.cn,

Wang Dahao was forced to resign after writing an article criticising an

instruction by the Education Bureau of Urumchi,

Xinjiang Province that all students memorise the

name of the local official leader.

 

Media follow-up reportedly angered Wang’s

supervisor. At an April 7 meeting, local

officials threatened that Wang would be investigated by the security bureau by if

he remained at his post,  Wang reported on his blog.

 

“Freedom of information enters dangerous

territory when journalists are forced to rely solely on official sources about

incidents involving government-run institutions,”

IFJ General Secretary Aidan White

said.

 

“Governments should operate on the basis of

transparency and accountability. Imposing restrictions on journalists who are, by profession,

guardians of the public interest demonstrates how far China has to travel to achieve

openness.”

 

The IFJ reiterates its call for China’s national authorities to ensure that all

levels of government adhere to the principles of freedom of expression, which are essential to China becoming an open and free

society.

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents over 600,000 journalists in

120 countries worldwide