The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is alarmed by reports of an assault on Lin Feng, a journalist with the Southeast Express newspaper in a village in China’s Fujian province while reporting on a building collapse.
Lin was reporting on the accident in which three people died and 10 were seriously injured in Fuzhou’s Cangshan District in eastern China on July 6. He was attacked by an unidentified group, and images on his camera were deleted.
An article about the building collapse and Lin’s assault was also deleted from the Southeast Express website upon orders from the Fujian Provincial Propaganda Department.
The Southeast Express is run by the Council for the Promotion of International Trade, Fujian Branch, which is under direct instruction of the Fujian provincial government.
“Once again we are seeing a journalist’s safety and right for the public to be kept informed come under threat in China,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said.
“It is disheartening that the local Security Bureau does not promptly investigate these cases of violence and harassment of journalists.”
Lin reported that some of the local villagers claimed his attackers were acting on the instruction of a senior village representative, who is accused of illegally constructing buildings in the area.
Another group of journalists was prevented from accessing the scene of the building collapse, according to local media reports.
The IFJ urges local authorities to take action to investigate assaults on media workers and ensure that government officials respect freedom of the press and the public’s right to information.
This is the second case of a violent attack on a Chinese journalist in as many weeks.
On June 24, Fang Xuen Chang, scientific editor of Beijing-based Caijing Magazine, was beaten over the head with an iron rod by two unidentified assailants, after he left work. Fang‘s head and back were seriously injured in the attack.