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  • Surveys | 31 May, 2012 (16:45)

    2012 FCCC Membership Survey Highlights

    (May 2012) pdf

    ONE-FOURTH OF RESPONDENTS REPORT VISA DIFFICULTIES

    Al-Jazeera’s Melissa Chan was expelled from China (possibly the first such case since 1998) but there were many other would-be China correspondents whose visa applications were never approved or who faced unreasonable delays in obtaining visas.

    • 36 Reporters had difficulties with their visa. 21 of them were told or believe their visa difficulties were due to the content of their news reports.
    • In 2011-12 three reporters said authorities used their child’s visa or documentation to threaten them.

    Correspondent Comments:

    “It took me 10 months to get approval for my new journalist visa after I changed from one media organization to another one. In the previous year I received visa threats following the Wangfujing incidents.” — European Media

    “During the renewal process, I was told my visa would be cancelled due to my imperious attitude and because I thought of all Chinese people as ‘slaves’. This is all very odd because I write and interview very little.” — British Journalist

    “Over three years I have been unable to obtain a visa and license to open a new bureau.” — US Media

    “When renewing my visa, the officer told me that, as a financial journalist, I had nothing to do in the petitioner’s village. He harassed me with strange questions and humiliating remarks for half an hour, while stressing that he was not ‘threatening’ me. He referred to guidelines he was holding in his hand but declined to show them to me.” – European Journalist

    98 CASES OF REPORTING INTERFERENCE, INCLUDING 5 CASES OF MANHANDLING OR USE OF PHYSICAL FORCE

    Correspondent Comments:

    “When my colleague and I went to Shaanxi province to report last August, we were visited by local public security authorities (no uniform, did not show ID) in our hotel rooms at midnight. They wanted to check our IDs. Also the local authorities in Yulin city tried to block us from meeting a woman who had already agreed to be interviewed. On the other hand, I was recently in Chongqing and I encountered a surprisingly minimal amount of interference. My colleague and I were there for nearly a week, even with a small video camera, and we had no problems. — U.S. Broadcaster

    “Everything is getting harder. For example, some of the non-political, economic or financial experts have declined to be interviewed because they were asked by the authorities not to talk to the foreign media.” — European Broadcaster

    37 INCIDENTS OF SOURCES HARASSED

    “A source agreed to an interview on missing children in China. He cancelled the interview after police visited his home.” — Asian Broadcaster

    “A lawyer who represents Chinese activists was called by police and asked not to give interviews to foreign reporters anymore.”  –European Media

    37% SAY ASSISTANTS FACED PRESSURE OR HARASSMENT

    “Public security officers called the parents of my Chinese producer and told them that she is involved in anti-Chinese activities and that this could have grave consequences for her future. Public security officers also called my assistant and demanded addresses and phone numbers of some of the sources, interviewees and local drivers we used for a story on rare earth. (We refused to hand them over.) She was warned to watch what she puts on Facebook. She was told: ‘Although you work for a foreign company you are still a Chinese citizen.’” — European Broadcaster

    “Chinese staff are not necessarily hassled ‘in the field’ but might be called in after a story is published, even if they had nothing to do with the coverage of that issue.” — European Media

    44% SAY REPORTING CONDITIONS DETERIORATING

    Last year, following the 2011 “Jasmine Spring” police action against foreign journalists, 94% of correspondents said reporting conditions worsened. This year, 44% percent say reporting conditions have deteriorated yet again, while 34% say reporting conditions are about the same. One person said reporting conditions have improved.

    “Reporting conditions are about the same as a year ago, worse than five years ago, better than ten years ago, and way better than 15-20 years ago.” — American Journalist

    98% SAY REPORTING CONDITIONS IN CHINA DO NOT MEET INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS

    *About the survey: The FCCC conducts an annual survey on reporting conditions. The survey was sent to 247 FCCC correspondent members in Spring 2012, of whom 111 replied. Figures indicate absolute number of responses, unless otherwise indicated. When percentages are used, they reflect all respondents to that specific question. Not all respondents answered every question. Data may be used if credit is given to the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC). The Foreign Correspondents Club of China is a Beijing-based professional association comprising more than 240 correspondents from 38 countries and regions.