The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply queries the opaque investigation and confused concept of “fabricating news reports” by the authority of <st1:country-region w:st="on">China</st1:country-region> could destroyed a journalist reputation and deprived their rights to work.
On September 28, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) announced that 17 journalists from 15 media outlets were to be reprimanded as they had ‘manufactured fake or inaccurate news’ between December 2, 2014 and July 13, 2015. The SAPPRFT report said that authorities gave reasons for the investigations and reprimanding of journalists, but the report did not detail the investigation process. The 17 journalists, including editors and editorial teams received warning letters, reprimanding them, with 16 journalists been fined for their reporting. Wang Xing, a former journalist of the South Metropolis Daily received the strongest penalty, been handed a five year suspension, banning him from working in the media and receiving an accredited press card.
According to Xinhua, Wang was punished for ‘fabricating news about the suicide of a former <st1:country-region w:st="on">Henan</st1:country-region> government official’ in September 2014 and subsequently ‘persuaded to leave’ his post with the Southern Metropolis Daily. After the Xinhua report, Wang issued a statement refuting the allegations, saying he thoroughly investigated the report and the source was a trusted member of the <st1:country-region w:st="on">Henan</st1:country-region> government. Wang said that he was also not persuaded to leave his position. In May 2015, the local bureau of SAPPFRT removed Wang’s name from the accredited journalists’ list as part of his five years suspension.
The IFJ Asia Pacific Office said “We strongly criticise the decision by the Chinese authorities to remove Wang Xing’s professional accreditation for his work. The process and investigation into his reporting remains unclear and raises questions as to why he was punished. This is another example of the Chinese authorities attempts to silence critics and dictate the information that is presented to the public.”
We urge the Chinese authorities to review the Measures for the Administration of Press Cards. At the same time, the All China Journalists Association has a duty to support Mainland journalists in times such as these.
We also urge all journalists of <st1:country-region w:st="on">China</st1:country-region> to speak up of their rights when they face inaccurate accusations.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946
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