International Federation of
Journalists (IFJ) is dismayed to learn that China’s Central and provincial
propaganda departments have issued a new order banning media reporting on any
matter related to threats made by Hubei province governor Li Hongzhong against a
Beijing Times reporter on February 7.
order bans all media reporting and online discussion about an incident on February
7 in which Li refused to answer a Beijing
Times journalist’s question, demanded the name of her employer, confiscated
her recording device and threatened to contact her boss. The journalist had
reportedly asked Li about a case in Hubei
in May 2009 when a hotel worker allegedly murdered a police officer.
The Bejing Times is a sister newspaper of
the state-owned People’s Daily.
altercation was widely reported in newspapers across China
but was notably excluded from reports in the local Communist Party-owned En Shi newspaper in Hubei.
new order forced all newspapers to remove any articles related to the incident
from their websites and public discussion forums were it had become a hot topic
restrictions related to the murder case were issued in May 2009. At the time,
the orders banned independent reporting of the case as well as reports on
violent interactions between local government officials and journalists trying
to report on the case.
IFJ calls on China’s Central and provincial governments to end bans on news
content and to honour Premier Wen Jiaobo’s recent promises for more open and
unrestricted media policies.
March 5, Premier Wen assured the National People’s Congress of the Government’s
commitment to improving China’s
press freedom status by creating policy that promotes open and free media
environments, including greater public recognition of the role of independent
media as watchdogs on government transparency.
in media content and reporting at any level of government is contrary to
Premier Wen’s promise of genuine free access to information and press freedom
IFJ General Secretary Aidan White
the IFJ welcomes reports of new policies to promote a more open and free
working environment for China’s
media, it is deeply frustrating to learn that these promises have already been
undermined by the issue of a new ban on media reporting.”
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide