IFJ Condemns Attacks on Journalists in Hubei Province

 

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) urges China’s provincial governments to ensure an open

and safe environment for journalists working in Hubei Province, after a series of attacks were

reported this week.

 

A journalist, who asked to remain anonymous, told the IFJ

that he and other journalists were harassed by local officials, put under

surveillance and eventually forced on May 28 to leave the village of Badong,

where they were reporting on a murder case involving a local government

official.

 

The murder sparked media interest when allegations of police

and local government malpractice in the judicial process were made public.

 

On May 26, the provincial office of the Central Propaganda

Department reportedly requested an order be issued to stop all journalists from

reporting the case.

 

However, none of the journalists forced to leave Badong had

seen or heard of the order, the journalist told the IFJ.

 

Meanwhile, two reporters named as Kong Pu of The Beijing News, and Wei Yi Magazine,

of Southern Metropolis Daily, were reportedly

beaten up by plain-clothes officers at Ye San Guan village, near Badong, on May

28.

 

The reporters were interviewing the grandmother of the

murder suspect when four or five people claiming to be relatives entered the

house, physically abused the journalists and confiscated their bags and

equipment including Wei’s camera for several hours.

 

The interviewee denied knowing the assailants.

 

“Journalists worldwide have a responsibility in their

watchdog role to call governments to account for corruption, malpractice and

lack of transparency. China

is no exception,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White

said.

 

“Interference by provincial officials to prevent journalists

from investigating a matter of public interest contradicts promises made by Chinese

authorities to permit greater freedom of expression.”

 

The IFJ calls on China’s national authorities to ensure

all provincial governments are made aware of and adhere to the Government’s

stated commitment to promoting greater freedoms of expression, information and

association on a national level.

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents over 600,000 journalists in

120 countries worldwide