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China urged to investigate political interference in a magazine

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns the interference in the release of an initial public offering of the Lens magazine, a subsidiary of SEEC Media Group Limited, because it published a negative report about a labour camp in Liaoning.

On 6 April 2013, Lens magazine, in issue 62, published an article which revealed that many of the women detained in the Masanjia Women's labour camp had been tortured by the officials running the camp. The local Government denied the allegations of torture based on the findings of an ad hoc committee established to investigate the allegations. They refused to make the findings public and only certain parts of the report were made public.

"The magazine was prevented from issuing the IPO and had its publication licence cancelled because of the Masanjia article, which revealed serious human rights abuses in the labour camp," said a journalist working for the Group. "The magazine was originally scheduled to make its public offering in June, but now the magazine will be issued free of charge similar to its sister publications on sale in the market," he added.

The IFJ Asia-Pacific office said "This is clearly a violation of press freedom. If the report was incorrect the Department could have taken legal action against the magazine, not prevent it from issuing an IPO and cancel its license."

This action also coincides with a directive of the State General Administration of the Press which demands positive reporting by print and electronic media about issues related to the Central or Local Authority.

The IFJ urges the Central Government of China to refrain from interfering in press freedom. The public has a right to know about important issues and the press play an important role in ensuring the public's right to know.

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