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
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
”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
See earlier IFJ reports on mistreatment of journalists covering the
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