Attack on scribes rise as media opens up in China

As Chinese media showed signs of opening up on coverage of critical public issues, a number of journalists are increasingly being attacked.

Beijing: As Chinese media showed signs of
opening up on coverage of critical public issues, a number of
journalists are increasingly being attacked allegedly by state
and private agencies prompting the government to promise
protection for scribes.

Two leading dailies, `The China Daily` and `Global
Times`, both today featured attacks on journalists as lead
stories expressing deep concerns over the scale of assaults.

"Series of separate reports of aggression directed at
Chinese journalists - all in the span of less than a week -
has prompted a public outcry and call by the government to
ensure the safety of reporters on the job," `Global Times`
said in its report.

The editor and journalists of `National Business Daily`
were attacked on Friday by four men claiming to work for
BaWang International, a shampoo maker whose products the
newspaper said contained toxic chemicals.

Police detained the men after a tussle broke out between
the newspaper`s reporters and them.

"We condemn and distain any act that endangers reporters`
safety and disrupts the normal work of our paper," a
spokesperson for the paper said, adding the daily plans to set
up a reporters` committee to protect rights of journalists.

On Thursday, an arrest warrent was issued against a
reporter with Shanghai bureau of `Economic Observer`, who did
a whistle-blowing investigative report of insider trading by a
Shenzhen-listed battery manufacturer in Zhejiang Province.

The police later came to the newspaper`s office to
apologise to the newspaper and Qiu.

Another incident involved a reporter of `China Times`,
who was attacked on Thursday by a man claiming to be an
insider from the Shenzhen International Enterprise Co.

The scribe wrote a story last month saying Shenzhen
International Enterprise was suspected of transferring assets.
The company denied any involvement in the attack.

Media organisations have the right to know, interview,
publish, criticise and supervise issues related to national
and public interests," the General Administration of Press and
Publication (GAPP) said in a statement adding it will conduct
special inspections across the country to check implementation
of regulations issued for protection of media personnel.

Chinese state-run media has shown signs of opening up
since early this year after government reportedly liberalised
rules to carry critical reports on public issue.

The move was attributed to growing blog post network
which caught on with spread of internet and mobile services.
China has over 420 million internet users and over 800 million
mobile phone users.


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