China / Society

Journalist group defends China's press freedom

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-05-16 15:30

BEIJING - The All-China Journalists Association (ACJA)said on Friday that accusations by western journalist groups of press freedom violations in China are "irresponsible" and "do not accord with facts".

More open to foreign reporters

Responding to claims of increased restrictions on foreign media, the association said the Chinese mainland has been more open to overseas media in recent years, especially after regulations concerning foreign journalists and permanent offices of foreign news agencies were introduced in 2008.

"Nowadays, overseas reporters no longer need to file applications in advance for interviews. They only need the interviewee's approval," the association said.

All government departments have designated spokespersons to communicate with reporters from both home and abroad on major issues in a timely manner. News centers have been set up during major events such as national congresses of the Communist Party of China, annual parliamentary sessions, the Beijing Olympic Games and Shanghai World Expo to help foreign reporters.

"China will, as always, adhere to opening up, continue to welcome foreign journalists' news coverage and objective reporting on China, and facilitate their work," the association said.

Press freedom index baseless

The ACJA expressed strong dissatisfaction against China's bottom ranking in the annual so-called "press freedom index".

"The so-called 'index' deviates seriously from the actual situation in China's news sector," the ACJA said.

"Such practice, which is a sheer slander of China's press freedom, is extremely irresponsible, has obvious ideological bias, and neglects the actual situation of the development of China's news cause," it said.

China has developed a multi-media modern news communication system which includes newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, news agencies and networks since reform and opening up began more than 30 years ago. The public can access to domestic and foreign information via the news outlets.

The government gradually set up and improve laws and regulations on news coverage and communication, such as encouraging media institutions to conduct interviews and supervision of public opinion in accordance with the law and safeguarding journalists' rights.

The ACJA issued a regulation in January this year, promising aid to journalists who die or are injured in the course of their work.

"Without good policies and a relaxed social environment, China's news and communication industry could not have developed so fast and so well," it said.

Press freedom within the law

Responding to accusations that China detained the largest number of journalists in the world, the ACJA acknowledged that there were journalists who had been punished in accordance with the law because of conduct that did not accord with their profession, breaches of the criminal law or jeopardizing the public interest.

"Their criminal activities have undergone the scrutiny of strict judicial process," the association said.

While enjoying ample freedom in news coverage, media institutions must conduct their work within laws and ethics, shoulder social responsibility, say no to fake news and blackmailing, and accept public oversight, it said.

"In any country ruled by law, everyone in the country, irrespective of their profession, should abide by the Constitution and laws," the ACJA said.

"The case is the same in China," it said. "Being a reporter cannot be the reason for allowing a person to disobey the Constitution and law."

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