The International Federation of Journalists
(IFJ) condemns instructions to media issued by China’s Prison Bureau and Central
Propaganda Department that they must only report information distributed
through official channels.
dated April 10, prevents journalists
from reporting on the welfare, death
or injury of prison inmates unless the information is sourced from the Prison
Bureau. The Central Propaganda Department reportedly said such information could
be manipulated and used against prison authorities.
The addition of this topic to China’s list of banned topics
occurs shortly after the publication of news reports about the suspicious
circumstances of the death of Liu Yushan,
35, an inmate at Gaoming District Prison,
who was discovered dead at the prison.
After reportedly finding bruises on his son’s
body and injuries to his feet, Liu’s
father has challenged official reports that he died of a heart attack.
interference by provincial officials continues to disrupt journalists’ work on
The IFJ learned that the editor of the
government-owned website Tianshannet.com.cn,
Wang Dahao was forced to resign after writing an article criticising an
instruction by the Education Bureau of Urumchi,
Xinjiang Province that all students memorise the
name of the local official leader.
Media follow-up reportedly angered Wang’s
supervisor. At an April 7 meeting, local
officials threatened that Wang would be investigated by the security bureau by if
he remained at his post, Wang reported on his blog.
“Freedom of information enters dangerous
territory when journalists are forced to rely solely on official sources about
incidents involving government-run institutions,”
IFJ General Secretary Aidan White
“Governments should operate on the basis of
transparency and accountability. Imposing restrictions on journalists who are, by profession,
guardians of the public interest demonstrates how far China has to travel to achieve
The IFJ reiterates its call for China’s national authorities to ensure that all
levels of government adhere to the principles of freedom of expression, which are essential to China becoming an open and free
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
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