Blacklist of Health Reporters in China

 

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is disturbed to

learn that the Ministry of Health of China is compiling a media blacklist

to prevent “misleading” information from entering the public domain.

 

Director of China Health Education Center Mao Qunan and

spokesperson of the media and promotion office said at a food safety forum on

June 13 in Beijing that the Ministry of Health (MOH) would prepare a list to

curb certain journalists and media workers from "polluting the

communications environment", according to a number of overseas media reports.

Jinghua newspaper reported on June 15

that Mao said the list is designed to prevent the public being misled with malicious

information.

 

Focus

Taiwan

news agency reported that Mao said: "We plan to

increase our efforts to create that list as quickly as possible. With the list,

we will be able to trace who first started a widely-spread rumour."

 

“Media has to bear social stability responsibilities and procure economic

growth and development,” Mao added.

 

Ministry spokesperson Deng Haihua denied there was any intention

to create a blacklist, according to a June 16 report by Radio and Television of Hong Kong.  Deng said that Mao instead

is focused on the media’s promotion of a separate office which is also under

the authority of the ministry.

 

Food safety and environmental pollution have become key matters of

public concern in China

in recent years. One prominent example is the Sanlu tainted milk scandal in

2008, where a number of departments including the MOH did not release timely information

to the public. The scandal saw at least six children die and 30,000 toddlers

and babies suffer from kidney stones after consuming tainted infant formula.

 

“Reports of a so-called blacklist are of grave concern because

such a list will prevent the media from accurately reporting on, and people

from finding out about, urgent incidents that might affect their health and

safety,” the IFJ Asia-Pacific said.

 

“The IFJ does not condone media knowingly reporting misleading

information, but it is crucial that all information relating to public health

is released in a timely manner by the government.”

 

The IFJ urges the World Health Organisation to look into the

matter, and the All China Journalists’ Association to speak up on behalf of all

media personnel on this serious matter.

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +61 2 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

 

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