IFJ Demands Reinstatement of Journalist Suspended Over China Disaster Reports

The International Federation

of Journalists (IFJ) demands the immediate reinstatement of a China Central Television producer who was suspended from his job over coverage

of a high-speed rail disaster in China’s east.


The IFJ has learned that Wang Qinglei, producer of 24 Hours, was suspended on July 27 after the program’s host queried

the Railway Ministry’s speedy resolution of the July 23 accident in which at

least 40 people were killed. The host also questioned officials’ dismissal on

July 26 of safety concerns about China’s high-speed rail network.


“The IFJ calls on Cai Fuchao, Director

of State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, to investigate Wang

Qinglei’s suspension and ensure China Central Television unconditionally reinstates

him immediately,” IFJ Asia-Pacific



Another program, News 1+1, also on China Central Television, was suddenly taken off the

network’s schedule on July 26 without explanation, after criticism of a Railway

Ministry spokesman on the program on July 25.    


After six days of relatively unfettered

media coverage of the disaster in Wenzhou, the Central Propaganda Department issued an order to all media via a

cell phone on July 29. It came after Guangdong Propaganda Department issued an

order on July 24 demanding six local media outlets remove journalists from the accident



“Due to public opinion about the railway

disaster becoming complicated, all media including sister newspapers, magazines

and websites should immediately play down the relevant report except to report

information from the relevant authorities and positively report the aftermath,”

the order said. It added that “no further report and no commentary” were



On July 30, the Beijing Propaganda Department

issued an order to all local media stating, “No report or commentary about the company

responsible for the signal system of the high-speed railway and local metro

railway system.” The order also reminded cyber-police to control the flow of information

online regarding coverage of the accident.   


“Directives to restrict reporting on

the Wenzhou rail disaster are denying the public their right to be informed about

issues related to public safety,” IFJ Asia-Pacific



“The IFJ applauds those metropolitan

newspapers and national media, including China Central Television and The Economic Observer, for keeping the

public informed regardless of pressure from various authorities.”


The directives follow Premier Wen

Jiabao’s demands that the Railways Minister prioritise public safety following

the accident.


The IFJ also urges Premier Wen to

swiftly investigate the new restrictions on media and to order all propaganda departments to desist from issuing such orders

in the future.


For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919



represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries


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