Official defends journalist's revelation

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An official of the General Administration of Press has defended a journalist who was suspended for writing a story accusing a county's top official for having an expensive packet of cigarettes. Chongqing Morning Post reported on Monday.

Official defends journalist's smoking expose

Official defends journalist's smoking expose 

Shi Junrong, a reporter at Xi'an Evening News in Northwest China's Shaanxi province, published a story on June 20, criticizing Sun Yunfeng, a top official of the province's of Dali county for having a costly pack of cigarettes beside him during a meeting. It is reported that each pack of such cigarette costs around 200 yuan($31.5).

The county government's publicizing officer defended the report and said that the cigarettes were given by an official of the village, where the meeting was held.

Shi confirmed via his micro blog on June 30 that he was suspended by the paper. He admitted on his blog that he just finished his report through a telephone interview and did not get each person involved interviewed, which was not in line with the paper's rule.

However, Shi's suspension ignited support from Nong Tao, an official of the newspaper and periodicals department of the General Administration of Press and Publication.

"The report is not improper and the local government abused its power," Nong said on June 30, on his micro blog.

Shi also gained support from his peers, some even called for the All-China Journalists Association to intervene and to safeguard the reporter's right.

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