Foreign journalists in China face ‘unprecedented’ pressure: media group
Journalists left China due to excessive intimidation or state expulsions, report says
Threats of legal action, online troll campaigns and dwindling numbers after deportation of colleagues – foreign journalists in China face ‘unprecedented obstacles’ due to efforts to discredit independent reporting, a group said on Monday Press.
Beijing appears to be ‘encouraging a series of lawsuits’, or the threat of lawsuits against foreign journalists, often filed long after sources have agreed to interview, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC) said in its annual report. .
“In particular, news outlets are warned that their reporting could expose them to legal or civil liability, or – most worryingly – national security investigations,” he added.
The increased threats of legal action come after the 2020 detention of Australian TV presenter Cheng Lei, who worked for Chinese state broadcaster CGTN, and Haze Fan of Bloomberg News.
Meanwhile, foreign journalists and their organizations have drawn up emergency exit plans in the face of heightened risks, and “state-sponsored attacks…particularly online trolling campaigns” have made it difficult for those who remain to operate, according to the FCCC report.
The findings are based on a survey of 127 of its 192 members.
In 2020, China announced that it would expel American journalists from three major American newspapers: The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.
Many correspondents continue to cover China from other countries, while the remaining reporters from US organizations have struggled to renew their press cards.