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Magazine staff take stand against editorial interference

(IFJ/IFEX) - November 11, 2009 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is concerned about editorial integrity and managerial interference at Caijing business magazine in China after its editor-in-chief resigned on November 9.

Hu Shuli, 56, resigned after 70 employees from the magazine's marketing department, including nine executives and general manager Wu Chuanhui, quit last month.

According to local news reports, the magazine's managing editor, Wang Shuo, and 30 writers and editors also tendered resignations. More resignations of editorial staff are expected.

Chinese authorities reportedly reprimanded the magazine for at least eight articles this year and directed it to "return to positive reporting on finance and economics," according to a report in the International Herald Tribune.

The IFJ has learnt that members of Caijing's management board tried to influence the editorial team, after the board was pressured by the magazine's parent company, the Stock Exchange Executive Council and other government-controlled groups.

Pressure on Caijing reportedly intensified after Hu sent three journalists to cover ethnic-based riots in Urumqi, the capital of China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, in early July, despite Central Propaganda Department orders banning journalists in the area.

Articles published by Caijing about a new wave of violence and riots in Xinjiang in September reportedly used only government-provided information.

"An independent editorial department is essential to ensure the integrity and professionalism of any media outlet," IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said.

"The stand taken by journalists and members of the editorial staff at Caijing indicate the courage and commitment of many mainland journalists to resist and denounce editorial interference as they seek to defend press freedom despite working in a heavily censored and controlled media environment."

The IFJ stands in solidarity with Hu Shuli and all journalists and staff at Caijing in taking a stand to defend the magazine's professional integrity.

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