(From Radio Free Asia)
China’s official censors moved on Wednesday to limit media coverage and online comments linked to the Yangtze River cruise-ship disaster, as rescue workers began cutting into the hull of the stricken vessel, with some 400 people still missing, feared drowned.
The ruling Chinese Communist Party’s powerful propaganda department issued a directive banning Chinese journalists from traveling to the site of the wreck of the Eastern Star cruise ship in the central province of Hubei to cover the disaster.
In a directive leaked and then deleted on the Twitter-like platform Sina Weibo on Wednesday, authorities reminded all media outlets in China that all coverage of the ship’s capsize in reportedly freak weather conditions late on Monday must be limited to approved copy published by the official Xinhua news agency, or state-run broadcaster CCTV.
“When the Sewol sank on April 16, 2014, the three main South Korean TV networks, KBS, SBS, and MBC interrupted scheduled programming,” Sina Weibo user @sunlyxiaomei tweeted, referring to the earlier sinking of a South Korean ferry.
“On June 2, 2015, the central propaganda department issued a directive: regarding the Eastern Star capsize incident, all provinces, regions and cities are forbidden to send reporters to the scene to conduct interviews,” the user tweeted.
“Those who are already at the scene must be immediately recalled,” the directive said.
“All media outlets are to use unified copy from Xinhua news agency and footage from CCTV,” it said. Read more