A new report by the International
Federation of Journalists (IFJ) on press freedom in China’s
Olympic year highlights significant shortcomings in China’s approach to press freedom
The report, China’s Olympic Challenge: Press Freedom in 2008,
is the result of a 12-month press freedom monitoring project coordinated by IFJ Asia-Pacific from Sydney
and Hong Kong. It examines the major problems faced
by foreign and local journalists reporting in China during 2008.
When granted the Olympic Games, China
promised that all foreign journalists, including journalists from Hong Kong,
Macau and Taiwan,
would enjoy freedom to report. Overall, despite some bright spots, the report
finds that China
did not live up to its promises.
The report also addresses the difficulties faced by mainland
journalists, as well as journalists working in Hong Kong and Macau.
The situation for mainland journalists, who received less
international attention than their colleagues from overseas, remained grim and
there were few signs of improvement through the year. Mainland journalists
continued to be jailed for doing their jobs, and state security organs
continued to clamp down on free reporting and on online journalism.
The information in the report was contributed by a wide
network coordinated by the IFJ under the monitoring project, including contributors
from mainland China
and outside the country. That many contributors must remain anonymous for fear
of reprisals highlights the reality of media freedom in China.
The IFJ calls on China’s Government to take several
immediate actions, including the following:
- Release jailed journalists and cease
to jail journalists for doing their jobs.
- End restrictions and punishments for
- End the use of state security and
social order laws to intimidate and silence journalists.
- Ensure that new rules allowing
foreign journalists a free hand while reporting are implemented on the ground,
and understood by law enforcement and security officials.
did not live up to its Olympic promise to allow free and independent reporting
by all journalists in China
during 2008,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White
“However, the IFJ did see signs progress on media freedom as
basked in the Olympic spotlight. While authorities in some areas repeatedly
set up obstacles for media workers, there was a weakening of some of the barriers that obstruct
free reporting and expression in China.
“The challenge now is to make good on the gains for press
freedom during 2008, to maintain international scrutiny of media rights in China, and to continue to encourage China’s
government and authorities to embrace and act on the principles of press
China’s Olympic Challenge: Press Freedom in 2008 can be viewed in full in English,
traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese at the IFJ website at http://asiapacific.ifj.org/en/pages/open-and-free-towards-a-democratic-media-culture-in-china.
For printed copies, contact the IFJ Asia-Pacific
The IFJ’s monitoring project for China will continue throughout
2009. Alerts and bulletins issued by the project are available at www.ifj.org.
For more information contact:
Woo, Hong Kong: +852 – 914 591 45
IFJ Asia-Pacific: +61-2-9333-0919
The IFJ represents
over 600,000 journalists in 122 countries