IFJ urges Chinese authorities to stop harassing the media

The International Federation of Journalists strongly criticizes the harassment of three media outlets by the Chinese Securities Regulatory Commission. The IFJ calls on the Chinese government to take immediate action to end such action and behavior.

On July 4, the Chinese Securities Regulatory Commission announced that the Commission will cooperate with Public Bureau to clamp down false information online. The Commission claimed that some people attempted to manipulate the stock market by spreading rumors and false information online. The Commission said that they would therefore work with the police and regulatory bodies to end fake reporting and information and punish those responsible.

Throughout June, China’s stock market strongly fluctuated off the back of a number of supportive measures implemented by the Central Authority. The market failed to regain stability and investor confidence. Three media reports emerged in the weeks that followed detailed suicide and attempted suicides by people who had lost movement on the stock market. In reporting on the deaths, the media reports said that the cases were associated with the stock market. The Chinese Securities Regulatory Commission claimed that they were ‘false’ reports and as such, announced on July 4 that they would investigate all three reports.

A journalist told the IFJ: “In addition to the three cases mentioned above, there was also an incident in Beijing on 3 July. A friend of mine witnessed the incident but he did not report it because of the order made by the Chinese Securities Regulatory Commission.”

On July 6, a 29-year-old man was detained by Beijing police. In a statement on the police’s official weibo account, they said the man was detained after he posted false information on weibo, including the suicide of a man on July 3.

In June, the State Administrative Press Publication Radio Film and Television (SAPPRFT) issued an order to all media that they have to limit coverage of the stock exchange to prevent fluctuations in the market. It also said reports must be balanced, objective and rational to guide the market. At the same time, media should no longer include commentary and banned used sensational words such as “drastic drop”. After the order, all Mainland media downplayed all stock exchange market news even the authority implemented a string of supportive measures such as halted 28 companies for initial public offerings on 4 July.

The IFJ Asia-Pacific Office said: “Information regarding business and investment should not be withheld or excluded from reporting, and the Chinese people have a right to information regarding the country’s stock market. Restricting reporting is an unnecessary move as the government attempts to control the flow of information across the country.”

We urge the Chinese Government to take immediate action to ensure journalists are free to report on all issues across the country and are not threatened with intimidation or harassment.   

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946 

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 134 countries

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