August 30, 2010
By Zhu Shanshan and Lin Meilian
Four reporters were detained by police over the weekend for probing the plane crash in Yichun, Heilongjiang Province, the Beijing News Reported Sunday.
Police stationed near a Yichun funeral home detained four reporters, who are from Chinese Business Morning, Legal Mirror and CBNweekly, on Saturday where relatives of the people that died in the crash came to view the bodies.
Police held Shang Qinshuo, a reporter for CBNweekly, on Saturday morning for about two hours while he was trying to interview victims’ families at the funeral home.
“Two police came to me and asked if I am a reporter; I said ‘yes,’ and then they asked me to go with them without telling me why,” Shang told the Global Times.
After being taken to an office inside the funeral home along with another female reporter, Lin Chenyin of the
Legal Mirror, Shang was told that the families didn’t want to be bothered.
The two were released two hours later without charge or explanation after a group of reporters from 10media outlets protested outside the funeral home and demanded the reporters’ freedom.
Photographer Wang Shuntian, from the Chinese Business Morning, encountered the same harassment without even taking out his camera 50 meters away from the guard line in front of the funeral home after he identified himself as a reporter to the police.
“They forcefully dragged me to the police car and pushed me into it by pressing my neck. When they asked me if I was reporter or not, I said yes, and they claimed that they were catching reporters,” he told the Beijing News.
Wang was put into custody at Chaoyang police station in Yichun together with Wang Nan, a journalist from the Legal Mirror, and the police said they could only leave if it was approved by their superiors, according to the Beijing News.
According to Hua Jingwei, head of Yichun’s publicity department, the detention was a misunderstanding, and the ban on covering the funeral homes came too late from the investigation team to inform all the reporters.
The deputy chief of police in Yichun, surnamed Cui, admitted that he ordered the police on duty to control the four reporters, but he didn’t know they were journalists, according to the Beijing News.
Cui said it took two hours to free the reporters because the police on duty could not reach him by phone due to bad signals.
Reporters flooded to Yichun after a Henan Airlines flight, with five crew members and 91 passengers aboard, crashed last Tuesday night at Lindu Airport in Yichun, killing 42 people.
The cause of the accident is still under investigation and doubts were raised about the safety of the air route where the crash occurred.
“After the accident, reporters were not allowed to interview injured passengers at the hospital,” said Cui Muyang, a reporter with the Beijing News. “They said it in the name of victims’ families.”
“The police blocked us from entering the scene. They are afraid of cameras,” Wang Wei, a journalist from the Shanghai-based Dongfang Daily, told the Global Times.
They are trampling on the public’s right to know, as journalists have a responsibility to play a supervisory role for the public, Chen Zuoping, a journalism professor with the Communication University of China, told the Global Times.
“As long as journalists report in a legal and reasonable manner, there is no reason to detain them,” Chen said.
At a national meeting in Beijing on lawful administration on Friday, Chinese Premier Wen Jiaobao urged government departments to protect civilians’ rights to directly supervise the government, and support media exposure on illegal activities and improper behavior by government officials.
Peng Pu contributed to this story
Full Article Here – http://china.globaltimes.cn/society/2010-08/568249.html