Propaganda Department Blocks News on China Rail Disaster

The International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply concerned

that the Guangdong Propaganda Department tried to interfere with local media coverage

of a high-speed rail disaster on July 23 in Wenzhou,

in China’s

east, which killed at least 35 people.


The IFJ has learned that the Guangdong

Propaganda Department used records which noted the journalists that attended a

July 24 press conference arranged by the railway ministry, to contact employers

and pressure them to ask the journalists to leave the scene of the accident.


“Six local media outlets were asked to

demand that their journalists leave Wenzhou

by the Guangdong Propaganda Department,” said a Mainland journalist, who wished

to remain anonymous.


The media organisations affected

included newspapers Yeng Cheng Evening,

Guangshou Commercial, 21 Century Media, Guangzhou Daily and its sister publication Information Times Daily, and Southern Television.


“This is the propaganda department’s

usual practice after deadly disasters occur,” the journalist said.


The journalist said a similar tactic

was employed with journalists and media organisations when an aircraft crashed in

Yichun, Heilong Jiang

Province, on August 24,

2010, when 42 people died and 54 people were injured.


“The IFJ holds great concerns that registration lists are being

used to exert pressure on media organisations and individual journalists to

leave the scene of a breaking news story,” the IFJ

Asia-Pacific said.


“It appears that the reason Chinese authorities require

registration at press conferences is to monitor journalists and then attempt to

influence their reporting.”


The IFJ calls on the

Guangdong Propaganda Department to cease the practice of pressuring media

companies and journalists covering matters of key public concern.



For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919



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