Parliamentary Press Gallery’s consideration of Chinese state outlet is unconscionable

The Independent Press Gallery of Canada (IPG) was disturbed to learn that the Parliamentary Press Gallery (PPG) met secretly to discuss accrediting the propaganda arm of China’s genocidal government – the Xinhua News Agency. 

As first reported by the independent media outlet Blacklock’s Reporter, the federal gallery’s media directors discussed whether to give the communist state outlet access to the House of Commons and Canada’s federal government. 

Xinhua has been involved in the whitewashing of crimes committed by authoritarian dictator Xi Jinping, including the ongoing genocide of over a million Uygur and other Turkic minorities in the Xinjiang region. 

Xinhua is not only a genocide-enabler, it’s media practices pose a serious threat to our national security. In fact, in  2012 the Department of National Defence blacklisted the outlet from any press briefings. That same year, a former Xinhua reporter admitted that he was asked to spy on those opposed to Jinping’s regime while working for the company. 

Why on earth would Canadian journalists even entertain the idea of accrediting such an outlet?

The Parliamentary Press Gallery’s consideration of granting Xinhua an exclusive pass to mingle in the sacred halls of our Parliament is unconscionable. It’s an insult to all Canadians, a slap in the face to the men, women and children suffering under China’s brutal regime and a sobering reminder of how far Canada’s national legacy media outlets have drifted from our core democratic values. 

The IPG, which represents dozens of independent and freelance reporters and journalists across the nation from varied outlets, is calling on the PPG to immediately reject Xinhua’s request to join the press gallery. 

No genocidal or authoritarian state news agency should ever be given the credibility and unique access to our Parliament that comes with PPG membership, under any terms whatsoever. 

The very fact that the PPG met secretly with these communist propagandists is loathsome. Canadians are owed an explanation and an apology. 

The Independent Press Gallery is dedicated to preserving and upholding press freedoms and a clear separation of Press and State. As such, we condemn this secretive behavior and call on our colleagues to do better. 

Candice Malcolm
President, Independent Press Gallery of Canada