Journalists Prevented From Reporting Protests In China

The

International Federation of

Journalists (IFJ) Asia-Pacific is disturbed to learn of the detention and

interrogation of a group of journalists seeking to report on an anti-Japan

protest in Deyang, Sichuan province, in China.

 

Several

protests have broken out in a number of cities in China

since October 23, over a territorial dispute regarding the Japan-administered Senkaku

Islands. About six foreign

journalists from NHK Japan, Japan’s

Sankei Shimbun newspaper and Reuters travelled to Deyang, arriving at a garden where one protest was scheduled.

 

Deyang

Security Bureau officers promptly detained them, taking them to the local

Propaganda Department office.

 

“Our

colleagues, including the other media’s journalists, were detained for two

hours and then they were allowed to visit the garden,” said an NHK journalist, who

requested anonymity.

 

The

security officers then escorted the journalists to Chengdu airport before the protest began.

 

The

journalist told the IFJ that security officers demanded the journalists leave

on the grounds of “personal safety”.

 

However,

journalists are permitted to conduct interviews with any individuals who

consent, under Article 17 of the Regulations of the People’s Republic of China

Concerning Reporting Activities of Permanent Offices of Foreign Media Organisations

and Foreign Journalists.

 

“The

IFJ is concerned that the rights of journalists to report the news in China

have been undermined on the pretext of personal safety,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said.

 

“Safety

is a critical issue for reporting in dangerous situations, but it is up to

journalists and their organisations to assess the risk of a situation, including

assessing the advice of security personnel.

 

“In

this case, it is apparent that the officers were attempting to suppress

information regarding the protests in Deyang, thereby breaching China’s

regulations regarding foreign media.”

 

The

IFJ urges China’s

Central authorities to direct all provincial government and local security bureau

officers to permit all journalists to exercise their duties without restraint,

in accordance with the regulations for the foreign correspondents.  

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents more than 600,000 journalists in 125 countries

 

Find the

IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific