The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) calls
on China’s Government to
ensure open and fair trial proceedings for 10 journalists facing charges in China of
allegedly accepting bribes to not report a mining accident.
to a November 30 report in the State-owned China
Daily, the journalists were charged for allegedly accepting inducements from
Yu Xian county government officers in the form of advertisements and
subscription fees so that they would not report a mine explosion in Lijiawa, Yuxian County, Hubei
on 14 July 2008.
rescuer and 34 miners were killed in the accident, which occurred shortly before
China was to host the
Olympic Games in Beijing
in August 2008.
China’s Central Government
also reportedly charged 48 officials, including the mine owners, the county
chief, work safety officials and police officers in connection with an alleged cover-up.
BBC report at the time of the disaster said officials had allegedly moved bodies, destroyed evidence and bribed journalists to
hush up the accident.
“Cheque-book journalism is a thorn in the side
of press freedom and must not be tolerated under any circumstances,” IFJ
General Secretary Aidan White said.
“It is essential however that the proceedings
against these 10 journalists are fully transparent, as journalists working in China
face some of the most heavy, opaque and arbitrary restrictions in the world.”
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide