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Authorities restrict coverage of Hunan province bridge collapse, five journalists assaulted while reporting on the incident

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders condemns the government's decision to restrict reporting of the collapse of a bridge in Fenghuang, a city much frequented by tourists in the southern province of Hunan. According to foreign news agencies, the Propaganda Department ordered the Chinese media to reduce their coverage of the event. News organisations are said to have pulled their reporters out of Fenghuang immediately.

Reports are still available on the rescue operation, but they all come from government media, above all the news agency Xinhua.

Reporters Without Borders also deplores the fact that five Chinese journalists were hit by unidentified individuals (probably linked to the local authorities) while interviewing the relatives of victims of the disaster, in which more than 40 people were killed and dozens are missing. Those attacked include Wang Weijian of "People's Daily" and reporters working for "Nanfang Dushi Bao" and "Liaowang Oriental Weekly". A local Propaganda Department official apologised for the violence but threatened to prosecute journalists for "illegal reporting."

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