BEIJING: Threats of authorized motion, on-line troll campaigns and dwindling numbers after the expulsion of colleagues – international journalists in China are facing “unprecedented hurdles” from efforts to discredit unbiased reporting, a press group stated on Monday (Jan 31).
Beijing seems to be “encouraging a spate of lawsuits”, or the specter of authorized motion in opposition to international journalists, usually filed lengthy after sources agreed to interviews, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC) stated in its annual report.
“The risk landscape is changing at the moment in unfamiliar ways,” stated David Rennie, Beijing bureau chief for the Economist, in the report.
“In particular, news organisations face warnings that their reporting may expose them to legal sanctions or civil lawsuits, or – most ominously – to national security investigations,” he added.
This marks a “worrying” shift from earlier instruments to manage the media, resembling blacklisting them from occasions or through issues with press playing cards and visas, he stated.
The elevated threats of authorized motion come after the 2020 detention of Australian TV anchor Cheng Lei, who labored for Chinese state broadcaster CGTN, and Haze Fan of Bloomberg News.
Chinese authorities have stated they’re being held on suspicion of endangering nationwide safety.
Meanwhile, international journalists and their organisations have developed emergency exit plans over heightened dangers, and “state-backed attacks … particularly trolling campaigns online” have made it powerful for these remaining to function, the FCCC report stated.
Such strikes foster rising emotions that international media are the enemy, the report added, noting that “coverage of China is suffering”.