The International Federation of Journalists
(IFJ) is concerned by reports of the threatened closure of another investigative
magazine in China.
Journalists from Jinghua (titled This Week in English), a magazine affiliated with Jinghua Newspaper, report that all
investigative reporting has been ordered to stop after the publication was
transferred to the authority of People’s
Daily, one of the official media outlets of the Chinese Communist Party.
the General Administration of Press and Publications (GAPP) transferred Jinghua Newspaper to the authority of
the Propaganda Department of Beijing and restricted it from reporting on news
events outside Beijing. Jinghua was assigned to the control of People’s Daily.
“Management told staff they could
either follow the new editorial line or leave,” a Jinghua journalist said.
“Although we are still uncertain
about our future, we strongly believe the editorial approach will continue to change.
We will become a mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party.”
Since September, at least five
journalists and editors have left
the magazine, reducing the number of editorial staff to approximately twenty
people. A meeting between management and staff, to discuss the future of the magazine’s editorial personnel, scheduled for November
9 was cancelled
by management due to a scheduling conflict.
The tightening of control over
publications such as Jinghua reflects
the new policies of the Central Authority of China. Calls for stricter media
monitoring have been made in a number of public speeches by senior officials
including President Hu Jintao and leaders of the Communist Party Central
Politburo Standing Committee, the Central Propaganda Department and the State
Internet Information Office.
Jinghua is the second investigative publication forced to close recently by Chinese authorities. In
October, Great Wall Magazine was shut
down due to its publication of a number of sensitive investigations, including
reports on the Chinese Government’s failure to conclusively implement its Code of
Access to Information and the misuse of psychiatric care to detain petitioners.
“This year has seen journalists in China face
their greatest challenges since the pre-Olympic clampdown in 2008,” IFJ Asia-Pacific said.
“Heavy-handed editorial controls and
attacks on independent investigative reporting have led to pervasive self-censorship
and forced many experienced journalists out of the industry.”
The IFJ urges the editorial board of
People’s Daily to respect the
autonomy of Jinghua‘seditorial staff and
uphold the principles of press freedom.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
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