World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Journalist in China Faces Sacking for Ai Weiwei Editorial

Journalist in China Faces Sacking for Ai Weiwei Editorial

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is alarmed to learn that a journalist at Southern Metropolis Daily newspaper in China is facing punishment after he penned a May 12 editorial that obliquely endorsed the actions of detained artist Ai Weiwei.

The IFJ has learned that Southern Metropolis management plans to sack Song Zhibiao, a commentator at the newspaper for a number of years, but the decision will not take place immediately.

“Song must be punished for writing the article about Ai Weiwei, which goes against an order by the Central Propaganda Department,” a Mainland China journalist told the IFJ.

“However management will not remove him at the moment because the Tiananmen Square Massacre anniversary on June 4 is around the corner.”

After the news of the imminent sacking emerged, Song has received widespread public support from his colleagues and other journalists on microblogging applications.

“The IFJ is disturbed and disappointed by the decision made to sack Song Zhibiao by Southern Metropolis management,” the IFJ Asia-Pacific said.

“Management has failed to protect a valued member of staff, who was simply upholding his constitutional right to free speech.”

The IFJ has also learned that management is planning to close down the newspaper’s online forum page in the wake of the editorial.

It is not the first time the newspaper’s forum page has faced the axe. During the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 and Guangzhou Asia Olympic Games in 2010, management considered closing down the page after a number of journalists wrote articles which were unpalatable to the Central and provincial propaganda departments.

The popular national newspaper published the May 12 editorial in order to mark the three-year anniversary of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, and made references to a number of Ai Weiwei’s artworks which delved into the tragedy and its ripple effects. The editorial was posted to the newspaper’s website and to other sites for only a few hours before it was deleted, but the editorial can be read in full here.

It is believed that the article was removed from many other Mainland China websites under a directive from the State Council Office, which has a well-equipped team that monitors online activity.

The IFJ urges editor-in-chief of Southern Metropolis Daily Cao Ke ensure that the journalist keeps his position, maintain the forum page and reinstate the May 12 editorial on its official website.

The IFJ also calls on the All-China Journalists Association to work to ensure Song’s rights are upheld.

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

Find the IFJ on Facebook here


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Haiti: $5 Million To Kick-Start Aid In Wake Of Hurricane Matthew

UN emergency fund allocates $5 million to kick-start assistance in wake of Hurricane Matthew More>>


Not Helen Clark: António Guterres Favourite For Next UN Secretary-General

Former Portuguese Prime Minister António Guterres has emerged as the clear favourite to become the next United Nations Secretary-General following the sixth secret ballot held today by the UN Security Council, which is expected to take a formal decision tomorrow and forward Mr. Guterres’ name to the 193-Member General Assembly for final confirmation. More>>


Preliminary Results: MH17 Investigation Report

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series. According to the JIT there is also evidence identifying the launch location that involves an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi which, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. More>>


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news