New York, June 18, 2014–China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television issued a circular today that, if fully implemented, will curtail Chinese journalists’ ability to report. News of the directive came via the official state news agency, Xinhua.
“The restrictions made public today are part of a much larger government crackdown aimed at suppressing criticism of any subject deemed harmful by the government of President Xi Jinping to its own interests. It effectively undermines the watchdog role of the media by threatening to punish any journalist or media organization reporting news that has not been approved by the government. If authorities succeed in implementing these restrictions, there will be a significant curtailment of the already limited sphere of free speech in China,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator.
Since it came to power in March 2013, the Xi government has steadily increased pressure on Chinese and international media. Journalists–including some from Hong Kong–have been jailed, harassed, or expelled, and restrictions on social media tightened. Pressure on journalists in the months leading up to the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown was also tougher than ahead of previous anniversaries.