Bloomberg News is denying that it censored its reporters in China from releasing a story critical of the nation’s leaders, according to The New York Times (NYT).
The report is based on a story that Bloomberg reporters in China had filed about the detailed the secret financial ties between one of the wealthiest men in China and families of the nation’s leaders.
The editor in chief of Bloomberg, Matthew Winkler, told reporters that the story would not be published.
Winkler told the NYT that the decision was based on its ability to report in China and that the story is not being killed (via the NYT).
Several Bloomberg employees in Hong Kong said Mr. Winkler made clear in his call that his concerns were primarily about continuing to have reporters work in China, not protecting company revenues.
Even so, they said, he gave the listeners a clear impression that the company was in retreat on aspects of its coverage of the world’s second-largest economy, a little more than a year after it locked horns with a confident Chinese leadership that has shown itself willing to punish foreign news organizations that cross it.
Bloomberg News infuriated the government in 2012 by publishing a series of articles on the personal wealth of the families of Chinese leaders, including the new Communist Party chief, Xi Jinping. Bloomberg’s operations in China have suffered since, as new journalists have been denied residency and sales of its financial terminals to state enterprises have slowed. Chinese officials have said repeatedly that news coverage on the wealth and personal lives of Chinese leaders crosses a red line.
The decision to kill — or even hold — the story is causing concern among Bloomberg employees and those abroad who fear that censorship of this nature will harm their ability to report on foreign countries in the future.