IFJ Asia-Pacific Report: China’s New Clampdown – Press Freedom in China 2011

International Federation of Journalists, 23 January 2012

International Federation of Journalists — The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) initiated a program in early 2008 to monitor and report on press freedom and violations of media rights in China in the lead-up to the Olympic Games in Beijing in August 2008. The IFJ’s first annual report on press freedom in China, China’s Olympic Challenge, assessed the media environment through 2008 and, even as it noted many instances of infringements of journalists’ rights and media freedom, there was some optimism at year’s end that China was moving, even if slowly, toward a more free, safe and secure working environment for local and foreign journalists.

They highlight some of the most significant challenges faced by journalists and media workers operating in China, including Hong Kong and Macau.

Aside from outlining the situation for local and foreign journalists, this year’s report reflects a much more frustrating situation in China, with many journalists being sacked or forced to leave their original workplaces as the scent of the “Chinese Jasmine Revolution” spread from the Middle East to China in February 2011.

During the year a number of media workers, lawyers, bloggers and human rights activists were subjected to food and sleep deprivation by authorities. Many local and overseas journalists were assaulted, harassed or even killed.

The online media is still the main target for government crackdowns, with a new body established to oversight the online media environment. For foreign journalists, delaying of visa applications became a tool used by the authorities to threaten and restrain journalists.

The Hong Kong and Macau media have also experienced restrictions on their freedoms. During the year, at least five Hong Kong journalists were detained by police under various contrived accusations. Macau media is also facing a tremendous challenge with the proposed establishment of a press council. In 2011, China’s media environment remainedfrozen in time.

The information in the report has been provided by a growing network of contributors to the IFJ monitoring project, from Mainland China and beyond. Many of these contributors must remain anonymous. But without them, this report could not have been achieved.

Read the report here.