Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply frustrated to learn that a renowned
investigative journalist and his team of reporters were suddenly suspended from
their duties because of a management decision.
China Economic Times journalist
Wang Keqin and five of his colleagues in the newspaper’s investigative news
team were suspended from their duties July 18. It is unclear whether the
journalists will lose their jobs or be assigned different roles at the
The newspaper, under the control of the Development Research Centre of The
State Council of China, officially announced on July 18 that the Times must ramp up its economic news
coverage to reach its desired market niche. This in turn led to the decision to
dissolve the investigative news team which was discussed by the board of
management and approved by the Centre.
Wang is a prominent
investigative journalist and tutor in journalism at a university in Beijing. Along with the
spoiled vaccines case, Wang has reported on a black market taxi industry and alleged
corruption at Investment Security in Lanzhou,
Gansu Province. Wang also campaigns
for tuberculosis patients to receive public donations to provide treatment for
their long-lasting illness, through the China Social Assistance Foundation
which is registered under the Ministry of Civil Affairs of China.
it is entirely reasonable for a media organisation to target particular
markets, in this instance it appears absurd that the China Economic Times could not sustain an investigative reporting
unit – particularly given the current team’s success,” the IFJ Asia-Pacific said.
fear this move is an attempt to remove controversial news which could set a
precedent for other media organisations in China.”
A source, who did not wish to be named, told the IFJ that the
decision was made by Han Liyun, publisher of the Times since May 2010, who wished to see less hard-hitting coverage
in the pages of the newspaper.
“We don’t believe this decision came from Central Propaganda
Department because Wang has been successfully reporting several influential
news events such as the Shanxi
spoiled vaccine case and others without receiving any punishment from the
Department,” the source said.
“We believe the decision was made by Han because he dislikes too many
‘negative’ news reports being published.
“Han quarrelled with Wang a number of times over news coverage.”
Han, 47, assumed the position of publisher of the Times in May 2010 after his predecessor Bao
Yueyang was removed from his position because he published reports on the Shanxi spoiled vaccines
Another source told the IFJ that Wang was warned by a local
security officer not to leave China
without informing them of the reason.
IFJ urges the Development Research Centre of The State Council of China and the
management board of China Economic Times to swiftly reconsider its decision and reinstate Wang and his team.
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