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
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
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.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +61 2 9333 0950
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