Mainland journalists warned not to ask questions

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) raises concerns about reporting by Mainland media on recent administrative changes. The IFJ voices concerns about the ability of the media in China to freely report, without government intimidation.

On June 20, 2017, the International Table Tennis Federation of China (ITTFC) decided to remove Liu Guoliang as head coach of the national team, and appoint the vice chairperson of the Federation to the role. Mainland media reported on the changes, yet did not report of why the changes had been made. Liu is a well-respected member of the national team, and led the team to several international wins. In the following days, several messages on social media disclosed that journalists were ordered not to ask any questions above the move by the relevant authority, following the announcement. 

According to Guo Bin, a local blogger, on June 22 in a blog post, he said that members of the National Table Tennis Team were ordered to stay silent and not express their opinions about the removal of Liu. However, in the following day fives team members announced they were boycott the next international competition in protest.  

According to a statement by the General Administration of Sport of China, the action of the five team members ignored professional ethics. The Administration said that ‘all athletes should put patriotism and collectivism in first place’.

The IFJ Asia Pacific Office said: “President Xi Jinping has repeatedly made public speeches reminding all officials that they have to be accountable to the public and place the best interest of the public in first place. However, the fact that media is ordered not to report on certain facts and withhold information in stories, highlights serious issues with the Chinese government’s attempt to control the flow of information in China. All journalists are working on behalf of public interest.”

We urge all media personnel to uphold the accountability that President Xi demands of public officials when exercising their duties.

Further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946 

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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