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December 30, 2009

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Government calls on journalists to obey law

THE Chinese government yesterday vowed to facilitate foreign journalists' work in China, but called on them to obey Chinese laws when covering breaking news.

"We will stick to opening-up policies and continue serving domestic and foreign journalists. This principle has never changed," said Wang Chen, director of the Information Office of the State Council, at a press conference.

Wang cited the outbreak of H1N1 flu and the July 5 riot in Urumqi as instances in which the government provided information promptly, held regular press conferences and organized reporters to cover the news on site. But he admitted the authorities faced a new challenge to balance news reporting with maintaining law and order on the ground at accidents or incidents.

"We still need to figure out how to facilitate reporters' work while enabling law enforcement departments to maintain order," he said.

Wang hoped foreign journalists would abide by Chinese laws and temporary regulations imposed by the authorities when covering breaking news.

"Such measures are taken not only to resolve incidents effectively, but also to protect journalists."

In October last year, China issued new rules on reporting activities by foreign correspondents, lifting several restrictions.

Under the rules, foreign reporters are allowed to conduct interviews without applications to foreign affairs departments and resident reporters don't need to renew their press cards annually.

Wang said the establishment of a spokesperson system for the Communist Party of China committees would be a major task next year.

"We'll push forward the spokesperson system in departments of the CPC central committee and provincial-level CPC committees," he said.


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