China forces shut down 107 websites

 

Media Release: China                                                 

August 2, 2013

 

The

International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply concerned that 107

websites have been forced to shut down by the State Internet Information Office

of China. The closures have occurred since a crackdown was launched by the

newly formed department General

Administration of Press and Publication, Broadcasting, Film and Television on

May 9.

 

The New

Beijing Newspaper, which is under the direction of the Beijing Provincial

Propaganda Department, reported that the 107 websites include many news-related

media outlets. According to the newspaper, they were forced to shut down on the

grounds that they allegedly had no permits or were blackmailing companies or

individuals by threatening to publish negative information about them. However,

the sites include news websites such as Dwnews.com, which is a popular news

portal providing a diversified source of information for the territory.

 

Chinaxwcb.com,

which is under the direction of the General Administration of Press and

Publication, Broadcasting, Film and Television (GAPPBFT), reported on April 16 that

the GAPPBFT issued a notice to all online media saying that all personnel must

maintain positive promotion as their guiding principle when operating online

portals. The personnel are required to follow the practice of traditional

media, blogs and microblogs and to take up the role of guiding public opinion, and

to voluntarily refuse to disseminate harmful or unauthorised information.

 

The IFJ Asia

Pacific Office said: “Such a decision, without any evidence to prove the claim,

illustrates that China is escalating its efforts to control information. It is

clearly a backlash occurring

while the new leadership is in its early days.

 

“Plurality

is the key to a democratic society, reflecting the authorities’ respect for

people’s rights to receive and impart information.The media must report cases of great

public concern and not distinguish between good and bad news. Only authorities that do not

understand the duties of the media will force the media to become propaganda

outlets.”

 

We urge the Chinese

authorities to adopt international standards and the principle of press freedom,

and to lift all restrictions and allow all media outlets to operate

independently.

 

We also urge

the GAPPBFT to withdraw the notice and the State Internet Information Office of

China to provide more evidence to support its claim that the online media outlets

affected by the crackdown are “illegal”, so that the media outlets may resume exercising

their rights.

 

 

 

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0950 

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131

countries 

Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific 

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