International Press Institute Blames China's Media Control for Rampant Spread of SARS
Based on a Radio Free Asia report from Vienna on April 24, on Tuesday, the International Press Institute of the International News Freedom Organization, whose headquarters are located in Vienna, condemned the Chinese government's control of the media as the cause of the rampant spread of SARS.
The International Press Institute has reporters and important media personnel in 115 countries and districts worldwide. The Institute's public letter addressed to Chinese leader Hu Jintao calls for China to allow reporters to freely and openly report SARS and be protected from any persecution and threat of arrest.
The letter also said that the Chinese government did not allow reporters to cover SARS when it first appeared, failed to establish a SARS prevention and control system for people and doctors, and thus did not effectively control the spread of SARS. The International Press Institute pointed out that to solve a crisis demands unfettered communication of information, but the Chinese government treats freedom of information as a potentially bigger threat, and the importance of its political and social stability ranks higher than its people's lives and safety.