Journalists Blocked from Reporting China's National Day Preparations

The International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) calls on China’s

Central Government to ensure that local and foreign journalists are permitted

to report on all events in the lead-up to China’s National Day on October 1.


According to news reports in Japan, three journalists from Kyodo

News were assaulted by unidentified people for taking photographs on September

18 of rehearsals for the National Day military parade. The group reportedly

stormed the journalists’ Beijing

hotel room without warning, physically assaulted the journalists and destroyed

their computers by throwing them onto the ground.


The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China said its members

also reported receiving warnings not to interview people or take photographs in

and around Tiananmen Square in the weeks

before the anniversary.


“We received a warning after we filmed the parade on the

first day of rehearsal,” a cameraman told the IFJ. “They didn’t even allow us

to stand behind windows to take photos.” 


In a separate incident, three journalists from NHK Japan Broadcasting

were prevented from interviewing online journalist Liu Feivue in Suizhou, Hubei,

on September 17. Liu told the IFJ he was harassed by unidentified people who

urged him not to grant the interview.


Meanwhile, Beijing-based BBC reporter Michael Bristow said

in a news report that Chinese officials were undermining a “zero distance”

pledge made by the Press Department of the State Council Information Office on

August 13. The pledge stated that all questions submitted to government

officials would be answered within 24 hours.


Bristow reportedly submitted a series of questions to

various government departments about the National Day celebrations but received

no reply or was not provided with adequate information.


“Systematic harassment of and impediments

for local and foreign media personnel belie promises by China’s authorities to permit the

development of a more open media culture. The IFJ urges authorities at all

levels to resist the historic tendency to impede the media and instead promote

the transparency that serves freedom of expression and association,” IFJ

General Secretary Aidan White said.


For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919


The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide