Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns an effort by China’s Central
Propaganda Department to restrict communication between various provincial
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.”
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
represents more than 600,000 journalists in 125 countries
IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific