Ministry of Health Announces Journalist Blacklist

27 Jun

The China  Media Project has highlighted an announcement about a planned journalist blacklist that is being promoted by Mao Qun’an  (毛群安) the head of the news and publicity office of China’s Ministry of Health.  The blacklist would maintain records of media journalists who make false reports on food safety and other health problems.  Chinese journalists are understandably upset and have criticized the blacklist as “unnecessary,
ineffective,  irresponsible and an overstepping of the ministry’s authority.”

A headline on the Chinese web site Rednet sums up the journalist blacklist issue as unfortunate because of the problems that it causes for
journalists who criticize the government and its handling of food and health safety scandals.   Minister Mao’s proposed blacklist is meant to intimidate journalists and netizens alike from investigating problems that concern public welfare.

The headline to an article from the Daily Times, a commercial spin-off of the Liaoning Daily, reads: ‘Journalist Blacklist Seems More Like a “Kangaroo Court.”’ (记者黑名单疑似“私设公堂”)

The article criticizes the proposed blacklist as “laughable” and “without any legal basis.” (建立记者黑名单的想法是可笑的,也是没有法律依据的). It continues:

No measures from organs of public power can be undertaken with such liberty, but must be authorized by law before they are done. What law is there that authorizes the Ministry of Health to deprive a journalist of his right to engage in supervision by public opinion [or watchdog journalism]? (China Media Project translation.)

公权部门的任何举措都不能随意而为,都要遵循法无授权不可为的原则。哪条法律授权卫生部拥有剥夺一名记者参与舆论监督的权力?

The Nanfang Daily also has an article that goes into depth on the proposed blacklist.  The cartoon that accompanies the article reads: “Blacklist for those who purposely mislead the public.”  The three figures being pierced by the arrow are journalists.

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