Provincial Authorities Undermine Press Freedom in China


The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) urges China’s

Central Propaganda Department and Central Government to investigate the manner

in which provincial governments are overriding constitutionally guaranteed

rules about media access and rights in reporting on issues of public interest.


On August

25, the deputy editor of the Nanning-based

Nanguo Morning Post, Liu Yuan, 35, was reportedly forced to resign after reporting on

the murder of a teenage boy on August 4.


A senior

editor at a sister paper, Modern Life Daily, received a suspension order from the newspaper management,

reportedly under pressure from Guanxi Province’s propaganda department, in relation to reporting on the same case.


The Guanxi

propaganda department subsequently issued an order restricting further

reporting of the case, which had

generated widespread media interest,

including at the state-owned Xinhua News Agency.


A local

journalist told the IFJ that provincial personnel had banned reporting on the

murder for fear of fuelling public anger,

after media reporting on a separate suspicious death in Hubei Province in June revealed police had not

properly investigated the case.


“They were

terrified the case would agitate the public to protest against the Government,” the journalist said.


The BBC meanwhile

reported on August 25 a similar intervention by provincial officials in Shaanxi Province who sought to prevent foreign

and local journalists reporting on lead poisoning among children at a village near

a metal-smelting plant.


Quentin Sommerville

reported that officials from the province’s Baoji local government refused journalists

access to the village despite the journalists having obtained permission from

the Foreign Ministry. He said local residents told him they had been warned not

to speak to the media, according to

the BBC. 



instructions and regulations between China’s central and provincial

governments are impeding the ability of local and foreign journalists to report

on issues of public interest,” IFJ

General Secretary Aidan White said.



and respect for the role of the media at all levels of government is imperative

for China

to achieve its stated commitment to improve freedoms of expression and



For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919



represents over 600,000 journalists in

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