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TV reporter arrested for accusing prosecutor of abuse of authority

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders urges the central government to conduct an investigation into a TV reporter's arrest at her Beijing home on the night of 4 December 2008 by policemen sent by a provincial prosecutor, who is accusing her of corruption.

Identified only by the surname Li, the reporter works for a well-known programme on state-owned CCTV. She was arrested by four policemen who were sent by He Shusheng, a prosecutor in the northwestern province of Shanxi, after she accused him of abuse of authority in a report.

Li and two other journalists interviewed Shanxi Communist Party officials who are accused of improperly intervening in a dispute between a local businessman and a businessman from the southern province of Guandong, identified only as Wu, who has been arrested three times on charges of corruption, fraud and defaming the prosecutor, He, and has been released each time for lack of evidence.

A report in "Beijing Youth Daily" quotes Li's two colleagues as saying that, while they were preparing their report in Shanxi, He threatened to get them dismissed if they continued with their investigation. The article also claims that Li was Wu's brother's girlfriend, and that Wu had given her presents.

"Corruption is unfortunately a growing phenomenon in both the state and privately-owned media, but so too is abuse of authority towards journalists," Reporters Without Borders said. "We call for the CCTV reporter's release until it has been clearly established who did what in this case."

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