The mass expulsion of foreign correspondents cast doubt on China and the coronavirus, according to a very critical report with Beijing published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). “The mass expulsion of foreign correspondents further paralyzes freedom of information in China,” says RSF.
The agency requires the Chinese authorities to end the harassment of foreign journalists and their sources, practices that are increasing, according to a report published this week by the China Foreign Correspondents Club (Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China / FCCC).
In this sense, RFS urges the regime to reverse its decision to oust 13 foreign correspondents from the United States on Friday and insists that independent reporting is, now more than ever, critics in the fight against coronavirus.
At least 13 American foreign correspondents have been forced to leave China “just at the time Beijing claims it has curbed the Covid-19 epidemic within its borders“says RFS.
On March 18, the regime announced that American journalists working in China to The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal they would have to leave the country within 10 days in a move that represents “retaliation” against Washington’s measures to limit the influence of China’s propaganda media in the US.
“Although China promises that the epidemic is under control, only independent media can confirm that this is indeed the case.“said Cédric Alviani, head of the East Asia RSF Office.” The selected journalists provided some of the earliest and most accurate reports on the coronavirus epidemic and its departure will affect the possibility that the international community will follow the evolution of the crisis in China, “adds Alviani.
“The current coronavirus epidemic shows that the international community cannot do without reliable and independent news coverage. We urge Beijing to immediately end this dangerous and unacceptable harassment policy“concludes the RFS representative.
Authorities gave another example of this type of pressure on February 19, when the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced the expulsion of three Wall Street Journal reporters because its newspaper had published a critical opinion piece on China’s management of the coronavirus epidemic that it contained “racially discriminatory” language and questioned the stability of its economy.
China is ranked 177 out of 180 countries in the RSF World Press Freedom Index 2019 and its management of the coronavirus crisis has been questioned when communicating in recent days that not a single local case of coronavirus had been detected (in a country where more than 1.4 billion people live) and that all new cases are imported.
As an eloquent ‘ForeingPolicy’ article says, criticizing China’s censorship but also the practices of other countries such as Iran and the United States, “the truth has become a victim of the coronavirus“