The IFJ has condemned an attack by the Chinese embassy in Stockholm against a Swedish Taiwan-based journalist Jojje Olsson and one of the newspaper he works for - the Expressen.
A press release issued by the embassy accuses him of not being an “honest or credible person” because of his reporting on China.
The IFJ strongly condemns the release and deplores the institutional targeting of individual journalists and media outlets as they constitute a serious threat to press freedom.
The Chinese embassy in Sweden published the press release in response to an article published in Expressenin which Olsson was interviewed. The article gave examples of how the Chinese authorities prevented Swedish journalists from working in China because their reporting was uncomfortable for them. For instance, Olsson, who works as a freelance journalist and had been based in China for 9 years, was banned from entering the country after writing a critical book on China. He had to move to Taiwan, where he investigated the Gui Minhai case.
In its press release, the Chinese embassy says the article is “full of bias and lies”, it criticizes the “deceptive and shameful behavior” of Olsson and demands Swedish media report “objectively, impartially and non-selectively” on China. The embassy also criticizes the Foreign Correspondents' Club of China (FCCC) considering it an “illegal organization” that lacks “all legitimacy”.
The attempt of Chinese authorities to influence international reporting on their country is unacceptable. According to Olsson, since the current Ambassador arrived in Sweden in August 2017, the Chinese Embassy has been strenuously attempting to influence narratives on China and their methods haven’t always been diplomatic. During this time, the Chinese authorities have regularly contacted Swedish journalists reporting on China to try win their sympathies or to influence their work.
The IFJ together with its Swedish affiliate, the Swedish Union of Journalists (SUJ) and its Taiwanese affiliate, the Association of Taiwan Journalists (ATJ), strongly condemn the behavior of the Chinese authorities and we demand they respect journalists’ rights and let them work freely and without any pressure.
For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 16