World Press Freedom Day Highlights a Deteriorating Press…

by akoloy

The United States and the European Union voiced issues concerning the deterioration of press freedom in China, to coincide with World Press Freedom Day.

“The United States condemns the use of partial or complete government-imposed Internet shutdowns, among other tactics, to prevent the exercise of freedom of expression online and restrict the ability of independent journalists to serve the public,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated in a May 2 statement on World Press Freedom Day.

World Press Freedom Day is widely known yearly on May 3 after it was launched by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993. One of the objectives of the day is to advertise the basic rules of press freedom and deal with challenges to media freedom worldwide.

Blinken pointed to China, Turkey, and Egypt, and the way they imprisoned essentially the most reporters in 2020, citing knowledge from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

In December final yr, the CPJ launched a report naming China as “the world’s worst jailer” for journalists for the second yr in a row, and lots of had been arrested due to their protection of the COVID-19 pandemic. One instance was citizen journalist Zhang Zhan, who was sentenced to 4 years in jail for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” a standard cost that the Chinese regime usually makes use of to silence dissidents.

“In China, many of the 47 prisoners are serving long sentences, or are jailed in the Xinjiang region without any charge disclosed,” the CPJ said.

EU overseas coverage chief Joseph Borrell additionally pointed to China’s deteriorating press atmosphere in his statement on World Press Freedom Day.

“I want to reaffirm my commitment and that of the EU to media freedom, which has unfortunately declined in many countries during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Borrell wrote.

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC), in its report revealed in March, documented how the Chinese regime used a number of ways, together with coronavirus prevention measures, to limit overseas reporting in 2020. The report, primarily based on a survey of its 150 members, concluded that media freedoms in China “deteriorated significantly” in 2020.

“All arms of state power—including surveillance systems introduced to curb coronavirus—were used to harass and intimidate journalists, their Chinese colleagues, and those whom the foreign press sought to interview,” FCCC said.

Forty-two p.c of the 150 respondents stated they had been “told to leave a place or were denied access for health and safety reasons when they presented no risk,” in connection to reporting on coronavirus in China.

Several overseas reporters shared how they had been harassed or intimidated within the report, together with Francesc Canals, a correspondent at Spanish media Televisió de Catalunya.

“In Wuhan coverage, and in Beijing in reports that were not supposed to be sensitive, I was forced by locals, with the support of police, to delete data like street footage with no proper explanation. In Wuhan, I was asked to delete footage from my phone by a police officer,” Canals said.

Press freedom within the Chinese-ruled metropolis of Hong Kong has additionally deteriorated considerably in 2020. In a statement marking World Press Freedom Day, the Foreign Correspondent’s Club in Hong Kong (FCCHK) said it’s “committed to defending press freedom in Hong Kong and across the region.”

“[J]ournalists [in Hong Kong] have contended with a range of challenges, including new police limits on accreditation, the prosecution of members of the media, ever-increasing pressure on the editorial independence of RTHK, concerns over visas, and an attack by thugs on a newspaper printing plant,” FCCHK wrote.

The printing plant of the Hong Kong version of The Epoch Times was attacked by hammer-wielding intruders on April 12. The assault got here on the heel of one other assault in opposition to the identical facility in November 2019, when 4 masked people set fire to the plant. It is extensively believed that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is behind each assaults.

On Monday, the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) reported that town’s press freedom index for journalists reached a report low, dropping to a rating of 32.1 in 2020 from 42 in 2013. The index was primarily based on a survey of 367 journalists between Feb. 16 and March 21.

Eighty-five p.c of the journalists attributed town’s declining press freedom to the Hong Kong authorities’s suppression. Meanwhile, 69 p.c said that the “increasing emphasis of one country over two systems by the central government officials had made them uncomfortable in reporting dissenting voices.”

From The Epoch Times

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