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Judicial Process for Journalists Charged in China

IFJ Calls for Fair Judicial Process for Journalists Charged in China

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) calls on China’s Government to ensure open and fair trial proceedings for 10 journalists facing charges in China of allegedly accepting bribes to not report a mining accident.

According to a November 30 report in the State-owned China Daily, the journalists were charged for allegedly accepting inducements from Yu Xian county government officers in the form of advertisements and subscription fees so that they would not report a mine explosion in Lijiawa, Yu Xian County, Hubei on 14 July 2008.

One rescuer and 34 miners were killed in the accident, which occurred shortly before China was to host the Olympic Games in Beijing in August 2008.

China’s Central Government also reportedly charged 48 officials, including the mine owners, the county chief, work safety officials and police officers in connection with an alleged cover-up.

A BBC report at the time of the disaster said officials had allegedly moved bodies, destroyed evidence and bribed journalists to hush up the accident.

“Cheque-book journalism is a thorn in the side of press freedom and must not be tolerated under any circumstances,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said.

“It is essential however that the proceedings against these 10 journalists are fully transparent, as journalists working in China face some of the most heavy, opaque and arbitrary restrictions in the world.”

ENDS

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