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Magazine engaged in critical coverage of corruption placed under Propaganda Ministry's control

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders condemns measures taken by the authorities to transform "Baixing" ("Commoners"), a monthly mangazine that used to investigate corruption in rural areas. After being controlled for years by the agriculture ministry, it has been placed under the propaganda ministry's control. Former editor Huang Lingtian told radio RFA in a recent interview that the authorities want to turn it into an "arts and lifestyle" magazine targeted at a "young rural readership." As a result, most of its investigative reporters have left. Huang added that this transformation, similar to one recently undergone by the magazine "LifeWeek", meant that "Baixing"'s journalists would no longer do any original reporting.

"Baixing"'s transformation follows recent signs of official concern about its editorial policies. In August 2006, it was pressured not to publish reports about the eviction of peasants in Jiangyin and the takeover of their land by local officials. On 6 September, the magazine's site was closed down after it published images of the death of a Jiangyin resident in a protest against land seizures.

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