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Macau's public broadcaster accused of self-censorship

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply concerned that Macau's public broadcaster, Teledifusão de Macau S.A. (TDM), allegedly imposed self-censorship during the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre on June 4, 2014 and tried to deprive journalists of their right to choose their on-screen clothing.

On the eve of the 1989 anniversary, supervisors at Teledifusão de Macau S.A. demanded that all journalists remain political neutral and wear "decent" clothing when they were presenting programs. When presenters Chan Ka-Chon and Io Hao-Kei wore black overcoats while hosting the program Macau, Good Morning on June 4, they were reportedly scolded by their supervisor immediately after the news bulletin.

A Macau journalist told the IFJ that Chan and Io's supervisor told them they would not be promoted or receive an increase in salary in the coming year because of the incident. It was also reported that the pair were immediately removed from their original positions and reassigned to off behind the scenes jobs. Hong Kong Chinese activists had encouraged people to wear black clothing to commemorate the massacre.

The IFJ Asia-Pacific Office said: "Political neutrality is essential for all journalists, but it is absurd that a journalist should be 'scolded' on the basis of the colour of their clothing. It is deeply worrying that a media outlet could deprive individual of the right to wear the colour of their choice and to subsequently demote them and close off future promotion or advancement as a result."

The President of TDM, Manuel Goncalves Pires Junior, denied that TDM exercised self-censorship and claimed that he had demanded that the board investigate the case.

The IFJ said: "We welcome the President's decision to demand an investigation, however, we believe it is necessary that any investigation be truly independent, comprising independent journalism scholars and reported to the public."

The IFJ urges the Legislative Council of Macau to look into the case and calls on TDM to release results of any investigation to the public.

"Macau journalists should stand firm on any attempts of censorship and any actions that impede on their abilities to independently carry out their duties," the IFJ said.

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