The International Federation of
Journalists (IFJ) calls on Beijing to honour its
promise to allow foreign media more freedom to report in China, after authorities refused applications by
journalists to travel to Tibet
to report on this week’s 50th anniversary of a failed uprising against China.
journalist, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the IFJ that officers at the
Foreign Ministry in Beijing and Tibet rejected his application in early March
for a permit to travel from Beijing to Tibet. The
officers reportedly said they were “too busy” before rejecting the application,
the journalist said.
Two journalists from Germany reported that they were also denied
boarding cards to enter Tibet
on March 10 as they sought to travel from Chengdu,
Further, an Associated Press (AP)
journalist was asked by authorities to leave Kangding, Ganzi, on March 9. AP
reported that local officials said they had received an emergency notice from
the provincial government which ordered foreigners, including media personnel,
out of the mixed Chinese-Tibetan town. Kangding has been an “open area” where
journalists have previously not required permits to enter.
The efforts to block foreign media come
as authorities in China are
on alert for possible unrest around the anniversary of the 1959 failed uprising
against Chinese rule.
The latest restrictions are a breach
promise in October 2008 to allow foreign media more freedom to travel and
report on events in the country, in keeping with rules in place in the period
before and during the August Olympic Games.
On October 17, 2008, Foreign
Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao announced, “China adopts a basic policy of
opening up to the outside world, [and] protects the lawful rights and interests
of the permanent offices of foreign media organisations and foreign journalists
in accordance with the law.”
“In these latest incidents, journalists
followed the requirements for foreign media and applied for permits to travel
and conduct their work. No reasonable explanation has been offered for the
rejection of their permit applications,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said.
“The IFJ is dismayed that authorities
are not abiding by their duty and are again breaching the Government’s 2008
commitment to allow more freedom for foreign media personnel.”
The IFJ calls on China’s Central
Government to show good faith and approve the permits requested by foreign
journalists in order to do their work, in line with China’s claim to be “opening
up to the outside world”.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
represents over 600,000 journalists in
120 countries worldwide