EBU concerned over working conditions and independence of Chinese media
December 3rd, 2010 - 14:42 UTC
by Andy Sennitt.

Statement made by the 65th Ordinary Session of the General Assembly of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU):

The 65th General Assembly of the EBU has expressed its grave concern over the working conditions and lack of independence of Chinese media. Chinese authorities have advised their official representatives and the media to refrain from attending or covering next week’s Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in Oslo.

The General Assembly strongly condemns political attempts to control free and independent journalism. This understanding is clearly reflected in the wording and context of Article 19 of The Universal Declaration on Human Rights regarding Freedom of Expression:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers.”

Free, independent and pluralistic media are prerequisites of any modern society that aspires to respect the will and power of its citizens. No society can ever benefit from a citizenry that has been deprived of an enlightened understanding of the current affairs of its nation and the wider perspective of a globalized world. The imminent dangers of information either being withheld from the public or distorted are of immense concern to the EBU General Assembly.

We urge the Chinese authorities to remove all obstacles preventing national and international media from pursuing their work and to immediately release all journalists who have been deprived of their freedom.

Besides the fundamental right of freedom of expression, journalistic independence is a basic value of the EBU. The General Assembly urges the Chinese authorities to respect this principle.