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

In China, Mixed Signals on Ebola Controls

How authorities are monitoring at-risk individuals remains unclear, including whether there are quarantines for Chinese health workers returning from West Africa More

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Electionsi
X
October 31, 2014 4:10 AM
Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid