IFJ condemns interference in media by Chinese Central Authority

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

131 countries

Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

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