IFJ Calls on China to Honour Free Media Promises

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) urges authorities

in China to honour President Hu Jintao’s promise,

made at a Central Committee meeting of the Communist Party of China on October 9, 2008,

that China would work toward becoming an open

society.

 

The IFJ has received several reports of orders issued by the

Central Propaganda Department to Mainland media to restrict reporting on

several significant recent news events in China.

 

A Mainland journalist,

who wishes to remain anonymous, told

the IFJ that journalists were told not to report on an incident where three

people set fire to a car at Wangfujing in Beijing

on February 25.

 

They were also reportedly ordered not to report on a mine

blast that claimed 74 lives in Shanxi Province on February 23,

and also not to report on protests in Beijing

regarding the accident.

 

“We can only use information from the state-owned Xinhua

News Agency,” the journalist said.

 

Some online journalists decided not to upload additional

information to what was provided by Xinhua News Agency. Those that attempted to

do so discovered they were unable to load information onto sites known to be

under close observation by the Beijing

authorities, the journalist told the

IFJ.

 

It is believed that restrictions are being enforced in an

effort to maintain social order ahead of the China National People’s Congress in

Beijing this

month.

 

“The IFJ is dismayed by the continuing restrictions imposed

on China’s

media by the Central Propaganda Department,”

IFJ General Secretary Aidan White

said.

 

“The IFJ respectfully reminds President Hu Jintao of his speech

delivered to the Communist Party of China in the Great Hall on October 9 last

year, in which he said China was

determined to become an open society.

 

“Increasing reports and incidents involving restrictions on

reporting by mainland journalists suggest the spirit of President Hu’s promise

is not being followed.”

 

The IFJ strongly urges China’s authorities to uphold

official commitments to allow the media more freedom,

as promised before the 2008 Olympic Games.

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents over 600,000 journalists in

120 countries worldwide