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SPJ outraged by expulsion of U.S. journalists from China


Patricia Gallagher Newberry, SPJ National President, 513-702-4065, pattinewberryspj@gmail.com
Jennifer Royer, SPJ Director of Communications and Marketing, 317-361-4134, jroyer@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists is outraged by the expelling of U.S. journalists from China, a country where the need for independent press is paramount, especially during the current coronavirus pandemic. We urge Beijing to reverse this decision.

“Autonomous news outlets are essential to have in China, especially now, as we continue to cover the COVID-19 pandemic and try to provide the most current, accurate information to not only U.S. citizens, but the world,” said SPJ National President Patricia Gallagher Newberry.

China expelled more than a dozen U.S. journalists from The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, saying U.S. reporters must hand in their media cards within 10 days. They are also prohibited from relocating to Hong Kong and Macau to do their work. China’s foreign ministry said the move is a response to U.S. caps on Chinese media imposed earlier this month.

Bloomberg reported that China also asked five U.S. media outlets to submit detailed personnel and asset information to the government, a decision that mirrored a U.S. move to designate five Chinese media outlets as “foreign missions.” This requirement applies to Voice of America, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and Time.

The COVID-19 virus, which originated in Wuhan, was initially covered up by Chinese authorities. Jonathan Swan of Axios cited via Twitter a University of Southampton study that found there would have been a 95% reduction in cases and less spread of the virus if Beijing had intervened three weeks earlier.

“This is a time when we need more journalists in China – not fewer,” Newberry said. “It is also irresponsible for Chinese government to equate their state-owned media outlets with independent outlets in the West. There is no comparison between state-owned media and free, independent journalism.”

SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Become a member, give to the Legal Defense Fund or give to the SPJ Foundation.


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