IFJ concerned over restrictive orders placed on Chinese media

The International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is concerned by the recent

restrictions on the Chinese media’s ability to report on issues of public concern.

 

According to reports

received, China’s Central Propaganda Department issued a restrictive order on

August 18, preventing Mainland media from reporting on protests that followed an

incident in which Japanese authorities detained a group of Chinese activists in

relation to the disputed Diaoyu or Senkakus Islands. (The group was released on

August 17).

 

The protests, characterised

as “anti-Japan” reportedly took place across China including Shenzhen,

Guangzhou, Jinan, Hangzhou, Changsha, Harbin provinces.

 

A Hong Kong-based journalist of Cable Television - Timothy Wu, had his press card confiscated while covering the protests.

 

Restrictions were also placed on the Chinese media’s reporting on the

case of Gu Kailai, wife of former Chongqing Communist Party Secretary Bo Xilai.

The murder scandal resulting in a commuted death sentence for Gu on August 20 for

the poisoning Neil Heywood, has attracted considerable media attention

internationally.

 

Locally however, the Chinese media have been forbidden

from reporting on the scandal since February, apart from republishing

reports written by state media- Xinhua News Agency. Media was blocked from attending

the hearing, apart from state media agencies China Central Television and

Xinhua. The two court-arranged press conferences held after the hearing and

sentence did not provide any opportunity for media questions.

 

Additionally, a plain clothes police person assaulted a cameraman from Hong

Kong-based Asia Television, outside the court room.

 

Authorities have attempted to restrict netizens from publishing on the

case. A mainland journalist was detained after he forwarded a message describing

developments in China around the case, and authorities are seeking to censor related

key words.

 

“Directives that

restrict independent reporting in the public interest are unacceptable and an

attack on the rights of China’s general public to information” said the IFJ

Asia Pacific.

 

We urge the Central Propaganda Department to uphold Article 35 of the Chinese

Constitution and respect press freedom and the right of the Chinese people to

information. 

 

For

further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0918

 

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131

countries

 

Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

 

Find the IFJ on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IFJAsiaPacific