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Journalist bashed trying to cover construction accident in China

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns the use of violence by a China state employee against a China Central Television (CCTV) journalist in Yuzhong County, Lanzhou, Gansu Province.

On 16 August 2014, Ma Lingfeng, a CCTV journalist, was harassed, blocked and attacked by a staffer of the China Railway Construction Corporation (CRSGC) as he was attempting to report on a landslide in a CRSGC construction site where five workers were trapped.

According to a Beijing News report, Ma was pushed down by a CRSGC employee on his arrival at the site and his mobile phone taken away. The same man then also tried to remove a camera Ma was using to film at the scene. When the journalist attempted to call police, six men surrounded the crew and Ma sustained injuries to his finger, leg and head in the confrontation.

The Vice Director of CRSGC's Propaganda Department offered an apology to Ma and promised to bear all medical costs after circumstances of the media attack were widely reported.

IFJ Asia Pacific's Acting Director, Jane Worthington, said: "We are pleased that the CRSGC admitted responsibility in this incident, however this is not a lone case. Two local journalists were victims of a similar experience when they reported the same accident. Their cameras and cell phones were taken away, and photos deleted."

"The disrespect of media freedom should not become the norm for State employees, in the interest of protecting Chinese companies. Respect for journalists and their work is important and we urge CRSGC to encourage their staff to be respectful not only of journalists but the need for public accountability."

The IFJ urges the management of CRSGC to make the same apology to the other two affected journalists and provide compensation.

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