The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China is concerned by the rules made public on February 6, 2009 requiring reporters based in Hong Kong and Macau to obtain a permit from the Chinese government prior to every reporting trip to mainland China.
The new rules mark a major setback for China’s Olympic and post-Olympic media policy of being open to the world. They also pose a significant obstacle to journalists from Hong Kong and Macau performing their professional duties, especially when they are assigned to cover breaking news. The rules have already had a negative impact on FCCC member organizations.
We urge the government to immediately withdraw the rules, or suspend them prior to a revision made in consultation with all stakeholders. In the future, prior to issuing new rules we strongly urge the government to consult with media industry representatives, as it has done in the past in advance of issuing new rules affecting stakeholders in other industries.
Pending changes, the FCCC would like clarification of procedures for journalists covering breaking news stories who would not be able to do their job should they have to wait for permission, and of the consequences journalists may face if found reporting in China without first obtaining a permit.
The FCCC would be happy to further discuss this matter with authorities along with other interested stakeholders.