New York, February 13, 2009--China's decision to establish a list of reporters who break reporting rules and prevent them from continuing to report or edit news is a cause for concern, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The decision to create a blacklist was reported in an article on the Web site of the official China Press and Publishing Journal.
The Journal's report, titled "Strengthen oversight and service for journalists to protect their rights and interests," said that the General Administration of Press and Publication, the agency that controls the country's media, will "establish a database of media professionals with a bad record." The rules will apply to Chinese journalists. Foreign journalists are under the purview of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The article said the database is part of a larger plan to tighten press
credentials and set professional standards for
"We are alarmed by any government that attempts to decide who is a 'good'
journalist and who is a 'bad' journalist," said Bob Dietz, CPJ's
"Media in post-Olympics
The new regulations came to light after an announcement on February 6 that Hong Kong and Macau journalists are required to apply for a press pass from the central government and get interviewees' consent before every reporting trip to the mainland--two restrictions that had been eased for reporters as part of the government's efforts to meet its pledges for a free media for the Beijing Olympics. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs made the less restrictive rules permanent in October 2008. CPJ expressed its skepticism about the ruling at that time.
Blacklisting journalists has a long history in
Corrupt reporters are a
serious problem in
The new rules do not apply to foreign journalists, but in
November 2007, CPJ warned that the government's crackdown on so-called
"fake" foreign journalists in advance of the 2008 Beijing Olympics was a
pretext to block critical reporters from covering the Games. While more than
20,000 foreign journalists were allowed to cover the Games, many others were
never issued journalists visas to attend.