Senior Newspaper Staff Sacked for Reporting Inflation Concerns in China

 

The International Federation of Journalists

(IFJ) is shocked by reports that the entire senior management team of Biancheng Evening Newspaper, including

the Editor-in-chief, were sacked after publishing a report in which citizens of

Huaihua, a prefecture-level city of Hunan Province in south central China,

complained about increased inflation before the Lunar New Year.

 

On February 1, the Biancheng Evening Newspaper published an article titled, “how does

your lunar new year taste?” The article reported a survey of local residents

that found that more than 50% of respondents were dissatisfied with increasing

inflation, although more than 80% of respondents were satisfied with their

social security. In the article, people also complained that the city had not

organized any official activities to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

 

On 3 February, Luo Xiaoming, the newspaper’s

editor-in-chief, and two deputy editors-in-chief were sacked by the propaganda

department of Huaihua. No reason was given for their removal.

 

According to a Chinese journalist close to

story, the government of Huaihua was unhappy with the report on the Lunar New

Year which highlighted the city’s increasing inflation rate. It is alleged that

government officials were concerned that the report implied inaction on their

part to address public dissatisfaction caused by rising inflation and a lack of

formal Lunar New Year celebrations.

 

Biancheng Evening Newspaper is a

sister publication of Huaihua Daily

Newspaper, which is managed by the local government of Huaihua.

 

“The actions of the Huaihua government demonstrate

that China’s

authorities misunderstand the role of the media.” IFJ

Asia-Pacific office said.

 

“The media has a duty to reflect popular

opinion regarding public policy. This cannot be achieved amid a backdrop of

media censorship.. This is yet another example of the Government of China continuing

to view the media as a propaganda arm of the government, rather than a forum

for the voice of the people”,

 

The IFJ urges the General Administration of

Press and Publication of China to investigate the removal of the senior

management team of Biancheng Evening Newspaper,

and order the reinstatement of any staff found to have been sacked without

genuine cause.

 

The IFJ also seeks to remind the State

Council of China of their duty to require all levels of government and propaganda

departments to meet their obligations to uphold press freedom.

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +61 2 9333 0950 

 

The IFJ

represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

 

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the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

 

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