IFJ Urges China’s Authorities to Lift New Bans on Newspapers

The International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns an effort by China’s Central

Propaganda Department to restrict communication between various provincial

city newspapers,

an act which violates the country’s constitution.


The IFJ learns that the department issued

an order, implemented from July 1, forbidding all local city newspapers from

publishing negative articles prepared by newspapers in other provinces. The

order clearly violates Article 35 of China’s Constitution.


Under the current system of

controls, the department’s local branch offices only have power to control

provincial media, not metropolitan (city) media. Therefore, many city-based

newspapers send staff to report news from outside the cities, and they also

cooperate with other local newspapers, publishing their reports if restrictive

orders prevent local papers from publishing such reports.


The order has been implemented in

provinces including Beijing, Guangdong,

Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Hunan.


“The aim of the order is to

strengthen the local governments’ ability to control the dissemination of

negative reports about their own cities,” a journalist who works in one of the

affected provinces said.


“We’d heard that some of the local

governments had complained to the Central Propaganda Department of negative

stories being published about their province,” the journalist said. “The order

affects the watch-dog power of media.”


Meanwhile, another order has been

issued to all city newspapers to follow state-owned

mediawhen reporting on spontaneous news, unless a news

event is specifically observed by a staff reporter.


“These new orders are clear

violations of the principles of press freedom which are enshrined in Article

35 of China’s Constitution,

and the IFJ urges China’s

authorities to revoke them immediately,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said.


“Professional journalists have a

duty to independently report events and public concerns, without fear of being

forced to provide propaganda.”


For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919



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