World’s Top Press Freedom Watchdog RSF Condemns China's IPVM Block

By Charles Rollet, Published Oct 26, 2018, 05:52am EDT

Reporters Without Borders, the world’s top press freedom watchdog, has condemned IPVM getting blocked in China after its critical reporting of Chinese video surveillance companies.

IPVM has been blocked in China since last week. The block came after IPVM reported many exclusive stories about Hikvision and Dahua’s track record on human rights and cybersecurity.

One story which garnered particular attention was IPVM’s article about Hikvision and Dahua winning over $1.2 billion in state surveillance projects in China’s region of Xinjiang, a place where grave human rights violations and mass detentions are being alleged.

Reporters Without Borders is a Paris-based non-government organization known by its French acronym RSF (Reporters Sans Frontieres, or RSF.) Founded in 1985, RSF is widely regarded as the world’s premier watchdog organization for media freedom, publishing every year a widely-cited ranking of countries when it comes to press freedom. In 2018, China placed 176th out of 180 countries on the index.

“With the blockage of IPVM, China-based journalists lose a tool that allowed them to better know the surveillance equipment used by Beijing, and therefore protect themselves and their sources”, said Cédric Alviani, head of RSF’s East Asia bureau, in RSF’s statement about IPVM’s blocking. “This is new proof of Beijing’s authoritarian escalation, based on the belief that blocking independent information would allow them to cover-up the abuses they commit.”

RSF has had a significant impact on press freedom issues in the past. For example, it has drawn attention to Turkey’s role as the world’s most extensive jailer of journalists and successfully helped push for the release of journalists in authoritarian countries like Uzbekistan.

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