Irish journalist’s departure from China further evidence of lack of civic freedoms – WARD

31st March 2021 - Senator Barry Ward

The decision of RTÉ’s Beijing correspondent, Yvonne Murray, to flee China because she feared for her safety and that of her BBC journalist husband, is further evidence that freedom of speech is hugely constrained in China, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

Ireland Co-Chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, Senator Barry Ward, said that Ms Murray’s decision “further demonstrates the extent to which the Chinese Communist Party is curtailing journalistic freedom and freedom of speech.”

Senator Barry Ward said: “We understand that Ms Murray, RTÉ’s Beijing Correspondent, has been forced to leave China because of mounting pressure and harassment from Chinese authorities, in the wake of her numerous reports on China’s persecution of the Uighur Muslim minority in Xinjiang.

“It is not acceptable to suppress legitimate journalism in this way. China has once again shown its form on suppressing discourse and its total lack of tolerance for free speech. Ireland must make it clear to China that this kind of behaviour is not acceptable.”

Yvonne Murray has reported for RTÉ from China on issues such as the abuse of the Uighur minority and the origins of the Corona virus. She is married to BBC China correspondent John Sudworth who has also been the subject of pressure from the Chinese Government because of his reporting of similar issues.

Ms Murray is now in Taipei, in Taiwan, with her husband and three children, where several other foreign journalists are now based, following expulsion from China.

Senator Ward continued: “Chinese official allegations of ‘fake news’, misinformation and false reporting against legitimate journalists reporting on the Uighur internment camps in Xinjiang, merely further lower China’s standing with the international community and convinces us that the Chinese Communist Party must answer for its abuses of human rights and fundamental freedoms. We must not allow the suppression of facts to occur by the exclusion of journalists.”


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