IFJ Worried by Lay-offs in China Media

On International Labour Day, the

International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is concerned by reports that media

outlets in China and Hong Kong are using the excuse of the global financial

crisis to lay off workers and reduce their benefits despite maintaining good

revenue flows.


The IFJ urges media businesses in China to refrain

from staff cuts and reductions in workers’ benefits, and to recognise that decent

working conditions are essential for providing a quality news service.


Press freedom is also a significant

factor in promoting quality media. As World Press Freedom Day approaches on May

3, the IFJ also reminds governments at all levels in China of their obligations to

respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression, enshrined in Article 19

of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


Article 19 states that everyone has

the right to freedom of opinion and of expression. This right includes freedom

to hold opinions without interference, and to impart information and ideas

through any media regardless of frontiers.


However, the press freedom situation

in China

remains worrying. Since early this year, China’s Central Government has

stepped up censorship on online reporting and imposed new restrictions on

various topics.


In addition, a new regulation

requires that all Mainland news assistants working for foreign organisations be

employed through the Government’s Personnel Service Corporation. They are

required to report only “positive information”.


Meanwhile, provincial officials in

the territories have blocked foreign press and media based in Hong Kong and

Macau from interviewing people, even though regulations introduced in October

2008 and February 2009 permit them to do so where interviewees give their



Macau’s officials have been

especially restrictive, twice barring a Hong Kong

journalist from entering the territory to conduct his work.


The IFJ notes that China’s President,

Hu Jiantao, pledged at the CPC National Congress in October 2007 to uphold the

right to access information. This right is also included in the National Human

Rights Action Plan of China (2009-2010).


The IFJ calls on China’s Government

and authorities at all levels to honour Mr Hu’s promise across the country and

all territories.



further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919



represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries