World press alliance urges China to free journalists

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 June, 2013, 8:06pm
UPDATED : Monday, 03 June, 2013, 7:43am


A global alliance of newspapers and news publishers called on China Sunday to release all journalists languishing in its jails and end attacks on freedom of expression.

With at least 32 imprisoned journalists, China is one of the world’s worst jailers of media professionals, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) said in a statement at its annual congress in Bangkok.

“WAN-IFRA reiterates its call for the release of 2007 Golden Pen of Freedom laureate Shi Tao, and all other journalists imprisoned or held without charge in connection to their work,” according to a resolution at the meeting.

It urged Beijing “to recognise that a free press helps promote a more prosperous, equitable and just society”.

The resolution also called on the government “to cease its pursuit and harassment of ‘netizens’ and bloggers who are increasingly targets of repression, and to welcome a more open and participatory information age”.

The group - which represents more than 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries - also urged Myanmar to guarantee media independence and allow press freedom to flourish.

WAN-IFRA called on Argentina to stop what it termed a government-led campaign of intimidation against independent media.

The four-day 65th World Newspaper Congress, which opened in the Thai capital on Sunday, will address the latest developments and challenges linked to the evolving media landscape, including the growing use of online paywalls.