News / Asia

Gloomy Year Forecast for Media Censorship in China

Hundreds of Hong Kong journalists, lawmakers and residents march to China's liaison office in Hong Kong protest the alleged police beatings of three reporters covering recent unrest in western China and demanded a government investigation (File Photo).
Hundreds of Hong Kong journalists, lawmakers and residents march to China's liaison office in Hong Kong protest the alleged police beatings of three reporters covering recent unrest in western China and demanded a government investigation (File Photo).

An international journalists' rights organization has painted a dark picture of this year's prospect for press freedom in China. The International Federation of Journalists says 2010 saw the government go into overdrive to stave off dissent over a raft of issues from rising inflation to rampant corruption.

The International Federation of Journalists says 2010 was bad year for media freedom in China - and warns the year ahead looks just as bleak.

The federation's annual report says the Communist Party's Central Propaganda Department handed out scores of restrictive orders to rein in the media last year.

Serenade Woo, the federation’s project coordinator for Hong Kong and China, says the noose tightened when Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year.

"The central government is still issuing orders covering a range of issues, and they are still extending their hands on the media," said Woo. "At the same time there is no press freedom at all, even though Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said the media has a role as a watchdog in the society."

Last month, newspapers, radio and TV stations and Internet sites were ordered not to mention the difficulty millions of migrant workers were experiencing in buying tickets to return home before the Lunar New Year, which begins Thursday.

And reports about the ongoing uprising in Egypt are being heavily restricted.

The federation says the directives cover a wide spectrum of sensitive topics, including inflation, corruption and official incompetence.

The federation also says Chinese journalists were barred from an area hit by a fatal land side in August and the censors demanded positive reports about an earthquake.

Editors and reporters who cross the line are punished - often on trumped up charges.

Last week, the contract of Chang Ping - one of the mainland's most popular political commentators and the former deputy editor of the Southern Weekly newspaper was terminated. He told Western news outlets he was fired for his critical writing.

The federation reported some small signs of encouragement last year.

Premier Wen Jiabao called on journalists to play a role in overseeing society, and in October, 23 former Communist Party officials issued an open letter calling on the central government to stop censorship.

But in reality little has changed, says Woo, and 2011 is unlikely to see the rules loosened.

"Honestly, I don't think this is likely to be happening in the coming one or two or three years," said Woo. "But I think the easiest thing [for the government] is to stop punishing journalists just because they are doing their jobs."

The federation called on China to keep its promise of gradually relaxing restrictions, which it made before the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

But uprisings in Tibet and Xinjiang since then prompted clamp downs and censors use ever increasing and sophisticated ways to control the media.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More