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Chinese authorities restrict access to information

This statement was originally published on ifj.org on 8 December 2014.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) strongly criticizes the actions of Chinese authorities, withholding news of a case of public concern until after midnight in order to obstruct non-Mainland media from conducting further investigations. The actions demonstrate the poor efforts by Mainland authorities to become more transparent.

At midnight on December 5, 2014, Xinhua, a state-owned media, reported that the Chinese authorities announced the arrest an expulsion of Zhou Yongkang, a former member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China. The following day, December 6, all Mainland media republished the Xinhua report with similar commentary that Chinese authorities will continue with their 'anti-corruption campaign' regardless of official ranking of suspects.

In recent times, a number of high-ranking officials have been investigated and arrested by Chinese authorities due to corruption.

Chinese authorities have been trying to make a concerted effort to move in a more transparent direction, however these actions of delaying reports are still far behind the acceptable standard. By delaying the announcement, the authorities ensured that all media had to rely on the Xinhua article for information. All recent articles regarding cases of corruption have been republished from Xinhua.

The IFJ Asia Pacific said: "Transparency is an important aspect of democratic nations; however the recent actions by the Chinese authorities question their intent to ensure they are transparent."

"We urge the Chinese authorities to ensure all information, especially that of public interest is reported freely and journalists and media allowed to exercise their professional duties without restriction and with full access to necessary information in a timely manner."

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