China: RSF denounces the suspension of Health Insight after its reporting into health issues in the country
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the Chinese authorities to reverse their recent decision to ban Health Insight, a popular media outlet available on social media platforms, which was particularly influential during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
All Chinese social media accounts of popular media outlet Health Insight were suspended on 3 July 2023 on the pretext of "violating public account management regulations", one month after it reported on the profit-oriented management practices within big hospitals and the escalating prescription drug prices. As Health Insight ’s operation model is based on direct distribution of news on internet platforms, this ban is equivalent to a forced shutdown.
The suspension follows the launch in March by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), an entity personally supervised by Chinese leader Xi Jinping, of a campaign aimed at “regulating the chaos of self-publishing media," a term encompassing accounts that share information on social media platforms.
“By forcibly shutting down a popular source of health news, the Chinese regime once again demonstrates its fear of having its policy failures publicly exposed. We urge the international community to build up pressure for the regime to end its policy of systemic censorship, and release all journalists and press freedom defenders currently detained in the country.
Founded in 2018 and censored several times, Health Insight was particularly influential during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2022, it was praised as an example of innovative media by a committee of Chinese media researchers and professionals.
Since Chinese leader Xi Jinping took power in 2012, he has been conducting a large-scale crusade against journalism as revealed in RSF’s report The Great Leap Backwards of Journalism in China, which details Beijing’s efforts to control information and media within and outside its borders.
China ranks 179th out of 180 in the 2023 RSF World Press Freedom Index and is the world's largest captor of journalists and press freedom defenders with at least 112 detained.