DHARAMSHALA: The conditions for foreign media operating in China particularly in sensitive regions like Tibet and Xinjiang have gone from bad to worse, according to a report titled “Position Paper on Working Conditions for Foreign Correspondents in China” published on Friday.
99 percent of the FCCC members surveyed said reporting conditions in China had failed to meet international standards and 80 percent said conditions had deteriorated or remained unchanged, the report said.
“Restrictions on foreign journalists’ access to “sensitive” areas of the country remain widespread, arbitrary and unexplained. Large parts of Chinese territory remain officially or effectively out of bounds for foreign correspondents. The 2008 rules prevent foreign reporters from visiting the Tibet Autonomous Region without prior permission from the regional government. Such permission has only rarely been granted in recent years,” the report said.
“Even in areas that are not explicitly off limits – such as Gansu, western Sichuan, and Qinghai – obstruction by local authorities makes working there extremely difficult and risky or impossible for locals to be interviewed.”
According to the report, “China’s ruling Communist Party continues to erect hurdles to foreign journalists, and the media companies that employ them, discouraging reporting on many aspects of China.”
“ Foreign journalists are restricted in where they can travel. Their sources are vulnerable to intimidation or worse. If they or their co-workers write stories that displease the Chinese government, they face retribution. This could come in the form of threats, effective expulsion (visas not being renewed), retribution against news assistants and reprisals against a journalist’s media company that has business interests in China.”
The FCCC stated that China is rapidly eroding the progress it made in “opening up” to the world prior to the 2008 Olympics.
The report also included more than two dozen recommendations to the Chinese government for improving working conditions among overseas journalists.
They urged the Chinese government to allow reporting in Tibet and called for an end to intimidation tactics employed by Chinese authorities, and transparency when dealing with reporters.