Chinese authorities continue attempts to control media

The International Federation of Journalists expresses concern regarding the recent directive issued to the media regarding reporting of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. The IFJ notes the growing number of directives issued to the media regarding reporting and calls on the government to end its heavy-handed approach against the media.

According to Ming Pao, a Hong Kong-based newspaper, on August 23 the State Internet Information Office issued a directive to all online media that they should only publish positive reports and images of the upcoming military parades between August 23 and September 5, which will mark the end of World War II and the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression.

The Ming Pao report said: “The order demanded all reports and posted messages related to military parade must be censored before publication and ensure all are positive, no discredit, no distortion and no attack towards the military. In addition to that no attack against the Communist Party, Country, system and leaders. Not a single harmful message is allowed to be posted on the internet.”

The government authorities have been implementing a ‘clean up online’ policy for years which does not allow any harmful or illegal messages to be posted online. This year the government demanded all online media to be responsible for all online activity or messages and delete any which are deems harmful or illegal.

On August 20, the Beijing Propaganda Department released a similar directive to all online media. The directive was similar to that issued by the State Internet Information Office demanding media only report positive news. Furthermore, on August 9, the Ministry of Information Technology announced that the authenticity registration system would be extended to include mobile phone SIM cards, meaning people would need an identification card to purchase a new SIM card as of September, 2015.

The IFJ Asia Pacific Office said: “This year there has been a steady increase in the number of directives issued by the Chinese Government for the media. The government continues to attempt to stifle the media by controlling information. By issuing these directives, the government is violated the public’s access to information as well as freedom of speech.”

The IFJ urges all media workers to exercise their duties ethically and responsibly. 

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946 

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 134 countries

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