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ACJA says journalists have right to report after Yanjiao explosion removals


The All-China Journalists Association (ACJA) has reiterated that journalists should have the right to conduct interviews after several Chinese reporters were forcibly removed by local officials while reporting an explosion in Yanjiao Town, Hebei Province, to the east of Beijing, that killed seven people on Wednesday.

"During such a major public safety incident, which the public wants to know more about, journalists use professional lenses to report the actual situation of the disaster and the rescue process, which can respond to the public's concerns and stop the spread of rumors to the greatest extent possible," said the ACJA in a statement published on its social media account.

The statement noted that journalists do not cause trouble if they report on-site situations factually, dispassionately, professionally and objectively, and doing so can help to resolve public concerns and supplement the information that an official press release is unable to cover.

In response, local authorities in Sanhe City, Hebei Province, on Thursday apologized for forcing the reporters away from the site.

A video clip went viral on Wednesday showing a China Media Group (CMG) journalist reporting live from the site of the explosion in the town of Yanjiao, when two men appeared and blocked the camera lens to interrupt the live broadcast.

Later, more video clips were published on social media showing several CMG reporters being pushed by male personnel at the site of the incident.

The incident, suspected to have been caused by a gas leak at a fried chicken shop, resulted in seven deaths and 27 injuries, according to local authorities.

(Cover: Firefighters work the scene of an explosion in Sanhe City, north China's Hebei Province, March 13, 2024. /CFP)

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