The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has released its annual detailed report uncovering new curbs in China’s press freedom last year. The respected Sydney-based says they are increasingly worrisome, and not just for mainland journalists.
The Arab Spring protests in the Middle East and North Africa, which led to the term “Jasmine Revolution” in China, have prompted insecure and threatened Chinese authorities into tightening their control over the media and press. They have approved the illegal detention (and even according to some unconfirmed reports, the torture) of many media workers, human rights lawyers, artists, bloggers, activists, and foreign journalists.
In Hong Kong (since 1997 a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China, and thus a part of sovereign China), five journalists were arrested for criminal charges in the course of their reporting duties. In addition, despite opposition from the public, the Hong Kong government has chosen a civil servant to be the Director of Broadcasting of Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) — rather than an outside figure likely to exercise more independence.
Censorship is beginning to impede the news in Macau as well, as the formation of a statutory press council to overlook all of Macau’s media is currently under consideration by the local government.
The IFJ’s report calls on the Central Government of China as well as the governments of the Special Administrative Regions to avoid enactment of laws that endanger the rights to press freedom as well as the accessibility of freedom – and to repeal existing restrictions.
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