China intensifies clampdown on media

HONG KONG: China intensified its clampdown on local and foreign media

last year with reporters facing violence, censorship and arbitrary detention, according

to a report by an international press watchdog.

Beijing also closed down social networking sites and moved to restrict online news under numerous regulations introduced in 2009 by local censors to control what the media says, the International Federation of Journalists said.

“Banned topics range from events asssociated with social unrest and public protests against authorities to reports of photos of an actress topless on a Caribbean beach,” the Brussels-based group said.

Signs that China was loosening controls on media in the run-up to the 2008 Olympics had faded by early last year, according to the report entitled “China Clings to Control: Press Freedom in 2009” released in Hong Kong yesterday. “Authorities sought to re-exert control on the media and information focusing in particular on the rising power of the Internet as a means for social expression and organising,” the IFJ said. “We... call on the international community to take a principled stand to oppose all forms of restrictions on the rights of journalists to do their work in China,” IFJ general secretary Aiden White said.