(TibetanReview.net, Apr23’21) – Presenting its annual report on Apr 22, Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders has called China the “biggest jailer” of journalists and among the worst countries in the world to be a journalist in.
The group has ranked China 177th in an index of 180 countries.
China’s role as a perpetual censor was highlighted when the pandemic broke out in late 2019. The party-state left no stone unturned when it came to muzzling voices speaking out about the horrors that were starting to unfold in the city of Wuhan, the epicenter, if not also the origin, of the novel Coronavirus.
A whistleblowing doctor was severely reprimanded and latter succumbed to the virus while a number of citizen journalists reporting on the unfolding tragedy on social media were arrested.
The Cyberspace Administration of China, personally overseen by President Xi Jinping shut down websites, blocked IP address access and keywords on social media (“Tiananmen Square” being a key one), web page filters and more.
Some 12,000 websites were shuttered between Jan and Sep 2020 along with 130,000 social media accounts.
Currently, over 120 scribes are detained in life threatening conditions in China.
7 reporters are still being held in custody for their pandemic reportage.