IFJ Condemns Violent Interference in Reporting in Xinjiang

 

 

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns

the brutal beating of journalists and the confiscation of journalistic

materials in Kashgar, in north-west China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous

Region, on the evening of August 4.

 

Two Japanese journalists were beaten by police while trying

to report on the aftermath of an attack on Monday which killed at least 16

police officers. The journalists, Masami Kawakita, 38, of Chunichi Shimbun and Shinji Katsuta, 37, of Nippon Television

Network, suffered injuries after being detained by police and barred from

reporting on the attack.

 

Two journalists from Hong Kong’s

ATV told the IFJ they were also detained and their footage was confiscated by

police.

 

After the incident, police also reportedly forced an Agence

France Presse photographer to delete images taken in the vicinity of the hotel.

 

A Hong Kong journalist, who

requested not to be named, told the IFJ she saw border police demanding that

the journalists leave the area.

 

“I saw a journalist and cameraman of ATV and two Japanese

journalists, one was lifted by his arms and legs by the police, they were

manhandled by border police into a room,” she said.

 

Kawakita said he was surrounded by police and lifted off the

floor then thrown down and kicked in the ribs. He suffered lacerations on his

cheeks and elbows.

 

Another witness told the IFJ “I felt my life was threatened

because I didn’t know whether the police chasing us had weapons. I utterly do

not understand why the police of Xinjiang barred us from reporting.”

 

On the morning of August 5, police reportedly visited the hospital

where the journalists were recovering to apologise for the injuries and to

offer compensation for medical bills and damage to equipment.

 

However, China Daily,

a government controlled newspaper, reported that Liu Yaohua, head of Xinjiang’s

public security department, said of the journalists’ attempts to report that “the

act was not well-justified and they should accept the consequences.”

 

Reporting regulations issued in 2007 allow journalists from

all countries including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan

to report freely and to interview Chinese citizens with consent.

 

“This brutal interference in reporting is totally contrary

to the letter and spirit of China’s

reporting regulations,” said IFJ Asia-Pacific.

 

“There can be no free reporting under such repressive

conditions. We demand that China

take immediate steps to prevent violence against and interference with media

workers who are simply trying to do their job.”

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919

The IFJ

represents over 600,000 in 122 countries worldwide