Journalists Covering Protests in China Instructed to ‘Cooperate’ With Police

The International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is dismayed by irresponsible comments made by

the Foreign Ministry of China, after a series of incidents in which journalists

were targeted when covering “jasmine revolution” protests in the country during

February.

In a regular press conference on March 1, Foreign Ministry

spokeswoman Jiang Yu accused journalists of breaching reporting restrictions put

in place by police for Sunday protests in Beijing

and Shanghai on

February 20 and 27. Jiang further said that journalists must “cooperate” with

police officers. When Jiang was asked to identify the restrictions that

journalists had supposedly breached, she refused to answer.

Many journalists from non-mainland media outlets including

Bloomberg TV, BBC, CNN, Sanli TV, Deutsche Presse-Agentur, German state broadcaster

ARD, Hong Kong-based broadcasters including ATV, TVB,

Cable TV, RTHK and Taiwan-based broadcaster iSet TV were harassed, assaulted

and detained by police and other unidentified people during the protests.

“It is absolutely ridiculous, we are the victims - not the police,”

said a journalist, who requested anonymity.

“Police thought they were granted powers to use force, push us

away and delete our footage without reason.

“The so-called reporting restrictions are also ridiculous because

those areas are public areas - the authorities can not casually impose a

so-called restriction based on their mood.”

The IFJ has learnt that media organisations received phone calls

from authorities only one day ahead of the second protest on February 27 and

demanded that journalists and media workers register in Wangfujing, Beijing, before reporting

on the event, with no reason for the new arrangements provided by the caller.

Regulations which apply to journalists from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau and foreign correspondents request that media organisations follow Chinese law,

but there is no provision that specifies sudden verbal directives. Journalists and media organisations have the right to report on any event

which takes place in public areas.

“It is deeply regrettable that a Foreign Ministry spokesperson could

defend violent, thuggish behaviour against journalists by law enforcement

officers,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White

said.

”We demand that China’s authorities immediately apologise to all

media workers affected by these acts, investigate all incidents of assault and

instruct police officers to behave with decorum to prevent further incidents

from occurring.”

See earlier IFJ reports on mistreatment of journalists covering the

protests here:

http://asiapacific.ifj.org/en/articles/journalists-in-china-held-for-reporting-jasmine-revolution-protests

http://asiapacific.ifj.org/en/articles/journalists-blocked-when-reporting-jasmine-revolution-protests-in-china

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents more than 600,000 journalists in 125 countries

 

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