2 February 2011

New IFJ report identifies more than 80 censorship orders in China in 2010

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The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has uncovered a series of orders issued by the Chinese authorities in 2010 that blocked information on public health, disasters, corruption and civil unrest, from defective vaccines to deadly explosions.

"Voices of Courage: Press Freedom in China 2010", released by IFJ Asia-Pacific, outlines more than 80 restrictive orders issued last year, including the ban of reporting on: a defective vaccine that had killed or disabled nearly 100 children; a deadly explosion in Aksu City, Xinjiang; and the case of Zhao Lianhai, the former journalist and parent of a victim of the 2008 Sanlu tainted milk scandal, who was given 30 months in jail in November for organising protests and being interviewed on the street. The report also details the punishments that were meted out to those who flouted the rules.

"These violations of journalists' rights not only block access to information but also serve to foster China's endemic culture of self-censorship, driven by the extraordinary pressure that journalists and media workers face each day," says IFJ.

The report's launch comes on the heels of a new set of directives issued last month that "indicate that censorship is likely to continue apace in China in 2011," says IFJ. The new directives limit reporting on subjects such as natural disasters, protests, criminal trials, corruption cases and the demolition of homes. The term "civil society" is banned, as is the practice of online voting, says IFJ.

Click here to read "Voices of Courage" (available in English and Chinese).

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