The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) demands the Propaganda Department of Sichuan Province explain new restrictions on media reporting on birth miscarriages.
A local journalist, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the IFJ that the April 17 order instructed all media to end all reporting on the frequency of miscarriages among women in Dujiangyan and an alleged connection to formaldehyde exposure.
Articles published in the local press in early March reported several cases of miscarriages by women living in temporary housing provided to victims of the 2008 earthquake in the province. The reports cited speculation that the cause may be linked to formaldehyde exposure in the temporary housing.
“People in Sichuan Province and elsewhere in China are entitled to information about potential health risks to which they may be exposed. It is the media’s responsibility to provide them with all possible information, including but not limited to local government reports,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said.
“Actions by the Propaganda Department to prevent information of this kind reaching the public encompasse a range rights violations, including denial of the right of journalists to access information and blocking women’s access to essential information about major health issues.”
The IFJ urges provincial and national authorities in China to remove the restriction immediately and to refrain from instructing journalists to disregard their professional responsibility to report on all matters of public interest, including potential health risks for pregnant women.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide