Japan releases Chinese journalists detained while covering a protest
By Madeline Earp/CPJ Senior Asia Research Associate
It's not often we at CPJ find ourselves calling on other countries to release Chinese journalists from detention. But that's just what happened yesterday. Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV contacted us to say that two of their journalists were among a group of 14 arrested by Japanese authorities over a disputed territory in the East China Sea. For once, we found ourselves in accordance with Chinese authorities, who called for the "unconditional and immediate release" of all 14, according to Reuters.
Japan has since deported the journalists, along with the protesters they were covering as they planted a Chinese flag on one of a string of islets-known in China as Diaoyu and Japan as Senkaku, local and international news reports say. We're waiting to hear from Phoenix whether their footage was intact, but it's good to hear they are safe. As CPJ's Deputy Director Robert Mahoney pointed out yesterday: "Reporting on a protest is not a crime. It's what journalists the world over do every day."
Except in China.