The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) strongly criticises the blocking of several Hong Kong-based media outlets to cover the press conference announcing the new leadership of the Communist Party on October 24, 2017.
On October 24, BBC reported that journalists, along with journalists from New York Times, The Economist, Financial Times and the Guardian were denied entry to the press room to cover the press conference announcing the new leadership of the Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee. French newspaper, Liberation, Le Monde and Hong Kong Satellite Television also reported that their journalists were denied entry.
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China voiced concern regarding the reports, noting that “using media access as a tool to punish journalists, whose coverage the Chinese authorities disapprove of is a gross violation of the principles of press freedom”.
Prior to the week-long 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China on October 18, the Congress press centre implemented several new procedures and processes in order to support the media to ‘exercise their duties’. Among the new procedures, the media have to be invited to enter the press room to cover press conferences. The IFJ has learned that numerous veteran journalists faced issues trying to cover the National Congress, with their rights impeded by the new procedures.
As a result of the new procedures, at least five Hong Kong journalists’ had their applications to cover the National Congress denied, without reason. Prior to the Congress, the IFJ wrote an open letter, calling on the Communist Party to address the issues, particularly the delay in approving media applications.
The IFJ Asia Pacific Office said: “The statements by President Xi that they encourage journalists to visit and report on changes in China were welcomed by the IFJ, however in reality, journalists are not welcomed. Journalists and media workers across China continue to face a variety of challenges and violations, including harassment, detention, arrest, threats and intimidation as they attempt to exercise their rights.”
The IFJ urges the new leadership of the Politburo Standing Committee of China to uphold the statements made by President Xi to ensure all party members and Government officials respect and support local and foreign media to exercise their duties.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries
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