China's state-run press agency may be grandfathered in rather than ousted from the Parliamentary Press Gallery, under new ethics rules rewritten by the Directors of the Parliamentary Press Gallery this week.
A proposed code of conduct would be applied only to new applicants seeking membership, not existing members. Xinhua News Agency has been a member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery for 57 years, according to Blacklock's Reporter.
The official news agency of China, which received credentials in 1964, would be exempt from 'Journalistic Principles' which, in draft, state that rules would only apply to “individuals who are not currently members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery as well as for new organizations applying to accredit their employees... New applicants must adhere to generally accepted journalistic principles and practices.”
As well, the code would compel new gallery members to “verify facts,” while avoiding “biases that could be perceived as influencing reporting,” something the Chinese state media is not particularly known for, to say the least.
The gallery, which dates back to 1885, has a provision that restricts reporters who engage in “activities such as the representation of political parties, governments, extra-parliamentary groups or clients.”
Famously, Rebel News has endured its own battles with Canadian press galleries; reporter David Menzies was barred from Justin Trudeau's election announcement in 2019, while actions involving the Alberta Press Gallery resulted in Keean Bexte and Sheila Gunn Reid gaining access to the legislature:
Despite these proposed new rules standing to benefit the Communist Party of China, which is rife with human rights controversies (including currently holding two Canadians hostage), the Parliamentary Press Gallery has historically expelled reporters/agencies who work on behalf of political parties or governments.
In 1949, a reporter for the communist Labour-Progressive party was ousted.
In 1950 and 1953, the Soviet news agency 'Tass' was also booted.
Despite the Department of National Defence (DND) blacklisting Xinhua in 2012, the proposed rules appear to be in protection of the state broadcaster whose membership status has received much criticism.