A Chinese journalist has been suspended for reporting on corruption charges made against the Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party in China’s northern Sha’anxi province.
Shi Jurong, a journalist for the Xi’an Evening Newspaper, was suspended from his job by the newspaper management for raising questions against Secretary’s business of making expensive cigarettes.
In his report Jurong questioned how the Secretary could afford making cigarettes worth $158 per carton when his monthly salary is quite low. In response the Secretary told him that the cigarettes belonged to his ‘comrade.’ Just four days after this exchange Jurong was suspended by his newspaper for not interviewing enough people for the story.
China is ranked 174 out of 179 countries in the 2011-2012 Reporter’s Without Borders worldwide index of press freedom. Journalists often face harassment or prison terms for reporting on anything controversial or critical of the government, according to media reports.
Earlier last month on the 23rd anniversary of Tiananmen square the Chinese government had tightened its security by arresting activists to prevent any protests or public demonstrations and Jurong’s suspension is another example of the limited press freedom in the country.
“The media has an important role as a ‘watchdog’ on government”, IFJ Asia-Pacific said.
“The media have a duty to investigate issues of great public concern that supersedes any obligation to political parties or officials”.
IFJ urged the newspaper to immediately revoke the decision to suspend Junrong, and the All Chinese Journalists Association to fulfil their duties to investigate the case and to protect the rights and interests of Chinese journalists.