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Reporters face charges for mine coverup

[ 2009-11-30 13:29]     字号 [] [] []  
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Ten journalists and nearly 50 officials are facing prosecution after a State Council probe found they allegedly took bribes to cover up a mine disaster in Hebei province.

Thirty-four miners and a rescuer died after the explosion at the Lijiawa mine in Yuxian county on July 14 last year, three weeks before the start of the Beijing Olympics.

According to the allegations, mine bosses relocated bodies, destroyed evidence and paid the journalists 2.6 million yuan ($380,000) to cover up the disaster, Xinhua News Agency said.

Relatives of the dead were kept quiet thanks to large payments and threats, it said.

The coverup kept the tragedy from the public eye for 85 days.

The identities of the 10 journalists have not been made public but reports claim Guan Jian, a Beijing journalist from China Internet Weekly, is among them.

Guan was detained in Shanxi province in December and went on trial in April for taking bribes from officials in Yuxian county in the aftermath of the mining accident.

The prosecution said the Yuxian county government paid 250,000 yuan for two pages of advertisements, as well as a "subscription fee" of 30,000 yuan to his newspaper.

After receiving the money, Guan destroyed a tape of the tragedy, the prosecution said.

The central government has also pressed charges against 48 officials, including the mine owners, the county chief, work safety officials and police officers in connection to the coverup.

The accident is the latest in a series of journalistic scandals in China.

In August, a journalist from China Central Television was sentenced to three years in prison with a four-year reprieve for accepting a bribe in Shanxi province.

In May, Beijing reporter Fu Hua was charged after he allegedly accepted money from whistleblowers with a tip-off on airport construction quality.

And last year, two journalists and 26 people posing as journalists were involved in a scandal in Shanxi after a worker was killed in a mine accident and bribes were allegedly paid.

A revised code of professional ethics for journalists was just released by the All-China Journalists Association on Friday.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Reporters face charges for mine coverup

About the broadcaster:

Reporters face charges for mine coverup

Nancy Matos is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Nancy is a graduate of the Broadcast Journalism and Media program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Her journalism career in broadcast and print has taken her around the world from New York to Portugal and now Beijing. Nancy is happy to make the move to China and join the China Daily team.