Media Release: China
10 May 2013
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
condemns manipulation of the media by the Central Authority on reporting of an
incident of interest to the general public.
On 8 May, the Central Authority issued a directive
restricting the media from publishing news of the suspicious death of Yuan Liya
on May 3, who had allegedly fallen off a shopping centre. Media was instructed
to only republish the statement issued by the Beijing Police and not
information gathered from independent sources.
Online media has also been restricted and no online
news portals can have anything about the suspicious death on their lead pages.
Popular social networking site Weibo has also had all related news items
The Police statement said that an autopsy confirmed
that Yuan’s death was a suicide. Yuan’s parents however have stated that the
police have not given them access to the autopsy report or any other
information and have reason to believe that Yuan was raped by seven security
guards before she died.
It is reported that the police detained a woman who
had published on the internet the information that Yuan was raped. There is no
information at this point about how the woman was identified or how the interrogation was conducted.
The IFJ Asia-Pacific office said “this is yet
another example of the Central Authority interfering in the media and
preventing them from publishing information that is of public interest. The
media has an important role to play in society where publishing information
gathered through independent investigations is necessary.”
On 17 March, newly elected Premier, Li Keqiang said
in a press conference “transparency is the key for people to measure whether
the authorities have done their best, effectively.”
“It is distressing that the Central Propaganda
Department and the Beijing Government do not abide by this sentiment. They
ignore internationally accepted principles of press freedom and treat the media
like an official mouthpiece.”
The IFJ urges the President Xi Jinping and Premier
Li Keqiang to advise members of the Central Politburo of the Communist Party of
China and in particular, those who monitor the media that they are accountable
to the people of China and that the public’s right to know should be protected.
For further information contact IFJ
Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0950
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in
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