New report flags concern about treatment of foreign media in China
Expanding surveillance and government interference along with harassment has led to a deterioration of the work environment of foreign journalists in China, a survey revealed on Tuesday. The Foreign Correspondents' Club of China published the report titled "Under Watch: Reporting in China's Surveillance State" about the experiences of foreign journalists in the country last year in which the "results painted the darkest picture of reporting conditions inside China in recent memory", Efe news reported.
In the report, 55 per cent of journalists said that reporting conditions worsened in 2018 - the highest figure since 2011- and not a single journalist believed that the condition has improved in the last year. Surveillance is also one of the major concerns as 48 per cent of the respondents reported "being followed or having their hotel room entered without permission while in the field".
Moreover, 91 per cent were worried about the security of their phones and 22 per cent said that they were aware of being tracked by the authorities "using public surveillance systems". "The wider monitoring and pressure on sources stop journalists even before they can reach the news site," said FCCC President Hanna Sahlberg.
In Xinjiang region, where nearly one million Muslims have been detained in "re-education" camps, 24 out of 27 journalists said they had experienced "interference" with 19 of them forced to delete data. Six journalists had visa renewal difficulties while BuzzFeed News bureau chief Megha Rajagopalan's visa was not renewed and Australian Broadcasting Corporation correspondent Matthew Carney received one for just two-and-a-half months, forcing him to leave the country.
Both had worked in Xinjiang. The report added that pressure on Chinese national news assistants and sources intensified in 2018. Of the respondents, 37 per cent said their Chinese colleagues were pressured, harassed or intimidated, while 34 per cent said sources had been harassed, detained or called in for questioning.
(With inputs from agencies.)
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