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World's Press Protests Against China's "Emergency" Reporting Proposal

(July 05, 2006)

The World Association of Newspapers and World Editors Forum have asked theChinese government to withdraw a proposal to impose heavy fines onjournalists, both Chinese and foreign, for reporting on natural disasters,accidents, public health hazards, riots and demonstrations.

In a letter to China's Premier, Wen Jiabao, the Paris-based WAN and the WEFsaid the proposed legislation "will undermine the role of the press toinform the public and lead to even greater self-censorship than alreadyexists."

China's State Council announced on 3 July that it intended to introducelegislation this year that will impose fines of up to 100,000 yuan(US$12,500) on Chinese and foreign journalists who release informationbefore the government on emergency incidents, or whose inaccurate reportingabout such events leads to "serious consequences." According to reports,local officials will be empowered to determine the accuracy of a report andthe fine to be imposed.

In the letter to Premier Wen, who is Chairman of the State Council, WAN andWEF said the proposed legislation "would constitute a clear breach of theright to freedom of expression" and should be withdrawn.

Read the full letter at: http://www.wan-press.org/article11416.html (boxun.com)

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