By Julie Mandoyan | July 3, 2012 - 17:00 GMT
The Chinese government appeared to tighten its censorship of media today (3 July), as the recently launched New York Times Chinese edition was blocked and a journalist investigating official corruption was suspended.
Journalist Shi Jurong from the publication Xi’an Evening Newspaper was suspended from his job after management alleged that he lacked sufficient sources for an article on the Secretary of the Communist Party in China’s northern Sha’anxi province. Jurong questioned the Secretary’s ability to own an expensive cigarette manufacturing business on a modest public salary. The move was criticized by the International Federation of Journalists, which responded in a statement that "the media have a duty to investigate issues of great public concern that supersedes any obligation to political parties or officials".
In the meantime, the online Chinese version of the New York Times is no longer accessible from China, less than a week after its launch on 27 June. It is suspected that the insistence of the company's editorial team to refuse to tailor its content in line with China's censorship laws played a role in the blocking. At the launch of the site, Foreign Editor, Joseph Kahn, had declared that "we're not tailoring it to the demands of the Chinese government, so we're not operating like a Chinese media company".
China’s media censorship is often denounced by human rights watchdogs and foreign companies such as Google. Reporters Without Borders this year ranked China 174th of over 179 countries in its annual press freedom index. (Photo © New York Times)
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