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IFJ urges lifting of ban on Taiwan media group at Chinese regional forum

(IFJ/IFEX) - March 6, 2012 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Taiwan Journalists Association (TJA) in expressing its disappointment that a media group from the Republic of China (Taiwan), Next Media Group, was barred from entering China to cover the Boao Forum for Asia, scheduled to take place in China's southern province of Hainan at the end of March.

TJA stated that Next Media has been refused accreditation to attend the Forum by China's Government, the host of the conference, each year since its inception in 2009.

"Any system of censorship serves to jeopardise press freedom." The TJA said, "The TJA condemns the Government of China's restrictions of press freedom and denial of the rights of Taiwan's media."

The Boao Forum for Asia was created as a forum for non-government organizations, however attendees now include leaders in the government, business and academic sectors. The Forum's current Board members include representatives from Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, France, United States, China and Hong Kong. This year the conference is going to be held in Hainan from March 31 to April 3.

TJA also urged Taiwan's Vice president, Wu Den-yih, who will be attending the forum, to use the event as an opportunity to defend the rights of Taiwan's media and uphold the public's right to information by releasing information on the event in a timely manner.

"It is disappointing that media have even been prevented from attending a forum for non-government organizations," IFJ Asia-Pacific Office said.

"The media are key non-government actors, as such it is important that they are treated fairly and are given equal opportunity to take part in public discourse and engagement."

The IFJ urges the Board of the Boao Forum for Asia to investigate the barring of the Next Media Group from attending the forum, take action to provide accreditation for the group and ensure that similar examples of press censorship do not occur in the future.

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