Police Block Reporting Of China Aircraft Crash

The International

Federation of Journalist (IFJ) is concerned about the detention of journalists

who were reporting on aspects of a deadly aircraft crash in China’s north-east, and about a

restrictive order placed on reporting details of the incident’s aftermath.

 

An aircraft with 96 passengers crashed at Yichun

City airport, Heilongjiang Province,

on August 24. Forty-two passengers were killed and 54 were injured in the

crash, which was widely covered by media from several provinces. A number of

the dead were government officials.

 

According to a report in Beijing

News, at least four journalists were detained by police for at least two

hours on August 28 when they attempted to report on the aftermath of the crash,

and take images at a funeral.

 

One of the journalists told Beijing

News that up to three policemen manhandled him and handcuffed his hands behind

his back. “They admitted that they were targeting media when they pushed me

inside a police car,” the journalist said.

 

Other journalists also covering the case protested and demanded police

release the four journalists. The journalists were subsequently released.

 

The Minister of Yichun City’s Security Bureau apologised to the detained

journalists. The Vice-Director of Yichun City’s propaganda department claimed the

detention was a mistake but provided no further elaboration.

 

However, a journalist told the IFJ that an order was made by the Central

Propaganda Department “which demands media not focus on the injured government

officials”.

 

“The IFJ welcomes the apology by the Yichun City Security Bureau,

but this does not detract from the fact that these journalists should not have

been detained for legitimately reporting on the aircraft crash,” IFJ General

Secretary Aidan White said.

 

“The IFJ remains concerned that a restrictive order was placed on

the reporting of government officials injured in this incident, only one day

after the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao, publicly confirmed in a speech to a

national meeting of all government officials on August 27the important role of the media in reporting any illegal

activities and improper behaviour from officials.”

 

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents more than 600,000 journalists in 125 countries

 

Find the

IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific