International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) urges China’s national broadcaster, China Central Television
(CCTV), to explain the apparent disappearance of one of its journalists in
The IFJ has learned that Zhao Pu, 40,
a host of CCTV’s news bulletin program, was suspended from his position after forwarding
a message using his Weibo microblog
account which advised parents in China not to feed their children unsafe food
products on 9 April.
According to various Mainland Chinese
media reports, the message told parents not to give their children frozen yoghurt
or jelly. Zhao did not provide further reasons for forwarding the warning
except to state that “the inside story is awful”.
However, many believe that Zhao’s
comments were related to the recent food safety scandal, in which 53 people have
been arrested, and 10 industrial gelatin and capsule factories closed, on
suspicion they were manufacturing drug capsules with potentially toxic industrial
Subsequent media reports alleged that
a dairy company Beijing Sanyuan Food Company have used this gelatin in its food
products, but the company has denied
Zhao’s message was deleted the next
day, and from then he has been absent from his regular hosting position.
Online reports speculate that Zhao has
been suspended from his position with CCTV, as his comments violated CCTV’s
internal policies. CCTV has so far refused to respond to the accusation. Zhao
himself has also yet to comment on the report, although in a subsequent post on
Weibo he quoted a Chinese poem in which the author proclaims himself innocent
of causing harm to others.
Zhao is the first journalist known to
be punished for commenting on the contaminated drug capsule scandal.
“Food safety is an issue of great
public concern, and one on which the media has a duty to report” IFJ
“It is alarming that Zhao would be
punished for comments made in his personal capacity that seek to alert the
community to a serious public health concern. CCTV must explain why he has been
The IFJ urges the CCTV to explained
Zhao’s disappearance, and provide a full explanation of which internal regulations
Zhao is alleged to have breached, if any.
We also call on the All Chinese
Journalists Association to investigate this case, and assess whether CCTV’s
punishment of Zhao for statements made in his own personal communications was
further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0950
IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries
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