Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Al Jazeera closes Beijing office after reporter expelled
Not only did China expel Al Jazeera correspondent Melissa Chan but the government also did not grant visas to other reporters. The Foreign Correspondents' Club of China (FCCC) was appalled by the action. The group said the action was a grave threat to all foreign reporters' ability to function in China.
The group said:“This is the most extreme example of a recent pattern of using journalist visas in an attempt to censor and intimidate foreign correspondents in China,” The expulsion is rare. The last journalist known to have been expelled was in 1998. However that reporter was accused of possessing state secrets.
Al-Jazeera said it had no choice but to close its English-language bureau, after China also failed to grant visas to other journalists working for it, but that it would continue to work with the government to reopen.
There was not even any official reason given for the expulsion of Chan except that she had violated unspecified rules and regulations. However, China was angered by a documentary aired last November on China. The reaction seems a bit delayed! For more see this article.