Media attacked covering ‘Dog Meat Festival’ in China

The International Federation of Journalists strongly criticises a group who verbally abused, threatened and attempted to attack media who were reporting on the “Dog Meat Festival” in Yulin, in the Guangxi Autonomous Region in China.

On 22 June, a small group of animal rights activists, university students and media personnel tried to attend the “Dog Meat Festival” In Yulin, Guangxi, which in recent years has been at the centre of  a controversial debate in China. It was reported that journalists from CNN, Apple Daily and other media outlets were harassed several times by an unidentified group while performing their duties.

According to reports, their cameras were blocked, while a journalist from the Hong-Kong based Apple Daily said that the perpetrators verbally abused and threatened the group of media workers, before attempting to take their cameras. According to his report, dog’s blood was thrown on them while they were trying to take pictures. When they continued one of the unidentified men said “I will smash your camera if you continue to take photos,” and forced the journalist to delete the images before he left.

It has been reported that a journalist from CNN was also harassed and received similar threats. A butcher was holding his knife towards the cameraman while he was chopping a dead dog. On another occasion, an unidentified woman was using a mop to attack the cameraman. Throughout the scenario, all nearby vendors were hostile towards the media personnel and no government agents attempted to assist the media while they were exercising their duties.

Several animal rights activists also reported that they were followed while another activist reported that many plain clothed agents were tearing down protest banners held up in front of the Yulin Govrernment building.

The IFJ said “Media should not be attacked for simply doing their jobs. They have a duty to report to the public regardless of where they are and what is happening in some areas of the world. The local government should have taken immediate action to stop the attacks against the media”

We urge Chen WU, the governor of Yulin city, to investigate the case and report what has occurred to the public, including how the media has been unable to exercise both their duties as reporters and their right to freedom of expression. We also urge the governor to ensure that all media can safely exercise these duties. 

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

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

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