The International Federation
of Journalists (IFJ) calls on China’s
Government to explain why reporting on the forced closure of a research centre
and human rights organisation was banned on July 17.
A journalist told the IFJ they received the ban order on July 17. The
order stated that no media was permitted to publish any information about the
closure of Gongmeng Legal Research Centre, also known as the Open Constitution
Initiative, by the Civil Affairs Bureau of Beijing.
run mainly by human rights lawyers, had been providing legal support to
minority groups in China,
most famously during the 2008 tainted milk powder scandal. Officers reportedly
searched the centre’s premises and seized documents and computers, reportedly on
the basis of an alleged tax error.
Zhiyong, a legal representative for the centre, said the bureau had no legal
right to force the closure of the organisation or impose a penalty of 1.42
million yuan (about USD 210,000) for the alleged mistake.
media coverage of a story that has great public interest and involves the work
of government bureaus is contrary to encouraging greater freedoms of
expression, association and of the press in an open and transparent society,”
IFJ General Secretary Aidan White
separate incident on July 18, a popular intellectual website called Tian Yi
forum, www.bbc.tecn.cn, was shut down by authorities without explanation.
17, two other websites, QQ.com and dayoo.com, were reportedly ordered to delete
news reports about the suspicious death in hospital of a woman in Mawei District, Fujian
Province. The reports were alleged to contravene official bans on media
reporting of certain issues.
has yet to prove that it will allow and encourage its media to act as a
watchdog for the public good. Government-instigated tailoring of online news
content amounts to propaganda and repression of free expression,” White said.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
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