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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs