Bishop of St Albans asks about suppression of journalists in China

The Bishop of St Albans asked a question regarding government response to suppression of journalists by the Chinese authorities on 1st December 2022, during a debate on a Commons Urgent Question concerning the arrest of BBC journalist Edward Lawrence while he was covering protests in Shanghai, China:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, what attempts are His Majesty’s Government making to work with our partners in the UN to build an international consensus, so that China, which is seeking to raise its profile as an international power, hears from all quarters that suppressing journalists, not least those who are doing their duties, and arresting people for these demonstrations is simply unacceptable in the modern world?

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con): The right reverend Prelate is right, and I agree with his second point. In the world we live in today, we have seen journalists lead the charge, reporting on conflicts and on violence. I pay tribute to them, and that is why I was proud that the United Kingdom teamed up with others, including the noble Baroness, Lady Kennedy, to ensure that we have a really focused and laser approach on the issue of suppressing media freedom and the rights of journalists.

On the right reverend Prelate’s point on the UN, of course China is a P5 member and is now looking increasingly at contributions to various UN agencies. It has a particular view of the world that we do not share, and it is important that we rebut that very strongly. We should not just rebut it but present an alternative vision, one in which all freedoms and strengths of human rights are reflected, and make the case strongly to countries currently perceived as fragile and embarking on the road of democracy that pluralist democracies are the best model. Issues of freedom of religion, freedom of media and the rights of journalists are very much part and parcel of that process.


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