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China media freedom declining at ‘breakneck speed’: Report – Al Jazeera English

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As China prepares for the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, foreign journalists working in the country warn media freedom is declining at “breakneck speed”.

China has long been known for the challenging reporting conditions for foreign media, but journalists based there say they face an increasingly hostile public and new forms of intimidation including “online trolling, physical assaults, cyber hacking and visa denials”, according to the annual survey by the Foreign Correspondent’s Club of China, which was released on Monday.

The findings were based on a survey of 127 of the club’s 192 members.

The FCCC says much of this harassment takes place on Twitter, an app that is banned in China, indicating that it is most likely carried out with the approval of authorities.

The harassment has disproportionately targeted Chinese staff and female journalists of Asian descent, the report also said, and encouraged “a growing feeling among the Chinese public that foreign media are the enemy”.

Following deadly flooding in Henan province in July, a local Communist Party media account encouraged citizens to go out and report the location of a BBC journalist to authorities. The post led to the harassment of several foreign reporters, including German reporter Mathias Boelinger, who said he was surrounded by a group of older men who accused him of smearing China and was shouted at by others.

Journalists also report that legal threats have become an increasingly common form of intimidation, previously seen less in China than in other parts of the region such as Singapore and Thailand. Foreigners facing legal action can be barred from leaving the country, the report noted.

“The risk landscape is changing at the moment in unfamiliar ways. In particular, news organisations face warnings that their reporting may expose them to legal sanctions or civil lawsuits, or – most ominously – to national security investigations,” David Rennie, Beijing bureau chief for the Economist, said in the report.

“In the past, the main tools used to control media involved restrictions on access, blacklisting from events, or problems with press cards and visas,” he said. “The growing use of the law is new and worrying.”

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Hong Kong, which used to be a bastion of media freedom in Asia, is now no longer seen as a viable base for the more than 20 foreign journalists who were expelled from China last year, fording many to report from places farther afield like Taiwan and South Korea.

The legal system in Hong Kong put journalists under pressure since China imposed a “national security law” in 2020. Since then, the law has been used to shut down and prosecute staff at two pro-democracy news outlets, while a third news outlet shut down at the start of 2022 citing “safety concerns”.

Foreign journalists say the continued shortage of staff working in China due to COVID-19 travel restrictions and expulsions has sharply curtailed the quality of reporting. Those who remain face an uncertain bureaucratic environment and delayed visas. More than 20 journalists reported receiving letters with provisional reporting rights in lieu of formal press cards, as well as shorter residency visas of just three months, the report said.

Some journalists said they voluntarily left China after they grew tired of restrictions as well as regular intimidation such as being followed by plainclothes security personnel.

Chinese staff working for foreign news outlets face some of the most difficult conditions, however, as they are regularly called in by authorities to report on their work and also face other forms of harassment.

Two Chinese journalists – Bloomberg staff member Haze Fan and Cheng Lei, an Australian who worked for state broadcaster CGTN – were detained more than a year ago by authorities and were initially thought to be living under “residential surveillance at a designated location”. RSDL gives police the right to detain anyone – foreign or Chinese – for up to six months at a designated location without disclosing their whereabouts.

Even as the world turns its attention to China ahead of the Olympics, the government has also not eased up on restrictions, the report added.

More than two-thirds of respondents told the FCCC they did not receive adequate information about what was happening, while a third said they were excluded from events open to other media.

Due to the intense travel and COVID-19 restrictions set for the event – reporters will be part of a ‘bubble’ involving only those attending the Games – the vast majority of foreign outlets have chosen to send reporters from abroad to cover the Olympics rather than assign full-time staff in China who might find themselves unable to work due to any sudden lockdowns.

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7 Tips to Grow Your Audience on Every Social Media Platform [Infographic] – Social Media Today

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Are you looking for ways to get more social media followers? Want to grow your audience by sharing the right social media content?

The team from Giraffe Social Media share their tips to get more followers in this infographic.

Here’s a quick summary:

  • Repackage and repurpose
  • Steal like an artist
  • Trends are your friend
  • FAQs can be content
  • Get social on social
  • Collaborate everywhere
  • You need a newsletter

Check out the infographic for more detail.

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Links, News and Notes: HHOF Decisions, Growing the Game on Social Media, and Free Agency – Silver Seven

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It’s the Monday edition of Links, News and Notes!

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Company buying Trump's social media app faces subpoenas – ABC News

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NEW YORK — Shares of Digital World Acquisition Corp. dropped 10% in morning trading Monday as the company reported that the subpoenas and a related investigation by the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission could delay or even prevent its acquisition of the maker of Trump’s Truth Social app.

The Justice Department subpoenas follow an ongoing probe by the SEC into whether Digital World broke rules by having substantial talks about buying Trump’s company starting early last year before Digital World sold stock to the public for the first time in September, just weeks before its announcement that it would be buying Trump’s company.

Trump’s social media venture launched in February as he seeks a new digital stage to rally his supporters and fight Big Tech limits on speech, a year after he was banned from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

The Trump Media & Technology Group — which operates the app and was in the process of being acquired by “blank-check” firm Digital World — said in a statement that it will cooperate with “oversight that supports the SEC’s important mission of protecting retail investors.”

The new probe could make it more difficult for Trump to finance his social media company. The company last year got promises from dozens of investors to pump $1 billion into the company, but it can’t get the cash until the Digital World acquisition is completed.

Stock in Digital World rocketed to more than $100 in October after its deal to buy Trump’s company was announced. The stock traded at just around $25 in morning trading Monday.

Digital World is a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, part of an investing phenomenon that exploded in popularity over the past two years.

Such blank check companies are empty corporate entities with no operations, only offering investors the promise they will buy a business in the future. As such they are allowed to sell stock to the public quickly without the usual regulatory disclosures and delays, but only if they haven’t already lined up possible acquisition targets.

Digital World said in a regulatory filing Monday that each member of its board of directors has been subpoenaed by a grand jury in the Southern District of New York. Both the grand jury and the SEC are also seeking a number of documents tied to the company and others including a sponsor, ARC Global Investments, and Miami-based venture capital firm Rocket One Capital.

Some of the sought documents involve “due diligence” regarding Trump Media and other potential acquisition targets, as well as communications with Digital World’s underwriter and financial adviser in its initial public offering, according to the SEC disclosure.

Digital World also Monday announced the resignation of one of its board members, Bruce Garelick, a chief strategy officer at Rocket One.

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