BuzzFeed reporter in China says ministry has declined to renew her visa

Megha Rajagopalan. (Credit: hkfp)
Updated 23 August 2018
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BuzzFeed reporter in China says ministry has declined to renew her visa

BEIJING: The Chinese government has declined to renew the visa of a reporter for the US website BuzzFeed, the reporter said.
Megha Rajagopalan said on Twitter on Wednesday that the foreign ministry declined in May to issue her a new journalist visa, after working in China as a journalist for “six wonderful and eye-opening years.”
“China’s Foreign Ministry declined to issue me a new journalist visa. They say this is a process thing, we are not totally clear why,” she wrote in a post.
Rajagopalan worked for Reuters in China from 2012 to 2016.
Her BuzzFeed coverage has included reporting on China’s security clampdown in the western Xinjiang region. She said she would be taking on a new role reporting from the Middle East.
Neither China’s foreign ministry nor BuzzFeed immediately responded to a request for comment.
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China said in a statement the government’s decision was regrettable.
“We find this extremely regrettable and unacceptable for a government that repeatedly insists it welcomes foreign media to cover the country,” it said.
“We are attempting to get clarity from the Foreign Ministry on its reasoning for effectively ejecting a credentialled foreign journalist from China and will relay any information they provide.”
Resident foreign reporters are generally issued visas that must be renewed every year. The government has occasionally in the past declined to renew or grant new visas for foreign reporters whose stories it has not liked.


WhatsApp says working with India’s Reliance Jio to curb fake news menace

The WhatsApp messaging application is seen on a phone screen August 3, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 26 September 2018
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WhatsApp says working with India’s Reliance Jio to curb fake news menace

  • More than 30 people have died this year in mob violence triggered by vitriolic messages on social media and WhatsApp, according to unofficial estimates, and police have previously told Reuters that minorities have been targeted

MUMBAI: Facebook’s WhatsApp is working closely with Reliance Jio to spread awareness of false messages, weeks after the Indian telecoms operator opened up the messaging service to tens of millions of customers using its cheap Internet-enabled phone.
Jio this month gave its more than 25 million JioPhone customers, many of them first-time Internet users, access to WhatsApp at a time when the messaging service is battling false and incendiary texts and videos circulating on its platform.
Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man, launched the JioPhone last year at a refundable deposit of 1,500 rupees ($20.60). The device is Internet enabled but didn’t initially allow the use of WhatsApp or have several popular smartphone features.
All new users of the JioPhone get educational material that tells them about spotting a forwarded WhatsApp message and encourages them to share messages thoughtfully, WhatsApp spokesman Carl Woog told Reuters.
“We are working closely with Jio to continue our education campaign for WhatsApp users,” Woog said.
In India’s smaller towns and villages, deep-seated prejudices, often based on caste and religion, and cut-price mobile data can aggravate the so-called fake news problem. Such regions are a key market for cheap devices such as the JioPhone.
More than 30 people have died this year in mob violence triggered by vitriolic messages on social media and WhatsApp, according to unofficial estimates, and police have previously told Reuters that minorities have been targeted in some remote and rural regions.
That has prompted New Delhi to call on WhatsApp to take immediate action to “end this menace.”
WhatsApp has already taken some steps to quell the rise of fake news. It has launched print and radio ad campaigns to educate users and introduced new features on the app including limiting message forward as well as the labelling of forwarded messages.
It has also partnered with Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF), a New Delhi-based non-profit organization, to spread digital literacy in India’s towns and cities.
DEF will host a workshop in the eastern Indian city of Ranchi this week, WhatsApp’s Woog said.
WhatsApp also plans to expand its outreach program to existing JioPhone users.
Reliance Jio did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
With more than 200 million users, India is a key market for WhatsApp but one where it has had to delay the official launch of its payments services due to the country’s push on data localization.
WhatsApp is currently looking for an India chief and a policy head for the country.
It last month appointed a grievance officer for Indian users at its Menlo Park, California headquarters, like other global tech firms whose grievance officers sit outside of India.
India has, however, said it will toughen up its laws including pushing US tech giants to have their grievance officers in India.
($1 = 72.8000 Indian rupees)