Australia denies Chinese journalists access to plane search media briefings

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Chinese journalists covering the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 from Canberra are furious at what they see as Australian government control of the media.

On Sunday, two Chinese crews decided to chase Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss into a car park at the Australian Maritime Safety Authority after being denied access to an AMSA briefing attended by Australian media.

The crews held an impromptu interview with Mr Truss but have complained at being ”locked out” of any chance to put questions to AMSA boss John Young. On Monday, AMSA posted a security guard at the front of its headquarters.

George Yang, the chief correspondent for Hong Kong’s Phoenix Satellite Television, said he had been asked to prove his credentials while he prepared to do a cross from public land. ”This wouldn’t even happen in China,” Yang said.

”It’s been very frustrating, there seems to be a Chinese media blackout. It is unbelievable that this is happening in Australia. There are relatives in China who are devastated and looking for answers.”

In a statement, AMSA said the security guard had been posted ”to prevent media vehicles from blocking access to the building and to prevent unauthorised access.

”AMSA rejects any claims that we are treating members of the Chinese media any differently to others. Yesterday’s media event was a pool arrangement organised in conjunction with the federal press gallery committee to allow access to the Rescue Coordination Centre whilst minimising disruption to the operations.

”Chinese media requested to join the pool but the request was declined by AMSA and they were advised to contact the press gallery committee to arrange access to the pool content, which was also made available on our website.”

AMSA said it had been ”inundated” with media requests. ”We have taken the view that it would not be fair to give selective interviews. That is why we have given two press conferences and provided multimedia content freely to all media. Chinese media outlets were present at both press conferences.”Source: Sydney Morning Herald – Chinese journalists say they are being ‘locked out’ of AMSA media briefings – Heath Aston

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