Sing Tao Reporter Denied Equal Press Access

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SAN FRANCISCO – A Chinese language media reporter was denied equal press access at San Francisco’s General Hospital by a sheriff’s officer while reporting on the aftermath of the Asiana plane crash, according to the Sing Tao Daily.

The paper, one of the nation’s largest Chinese-language dailies, has paid close attention to the story given that all three of those killed in the crash were Chinese nationals. The flight originated in Shanghai with a stopover in Korea.

According to the Sing Tao, on July 8, three days after the tragic crash, a reporter with the paper visited the hospital looking for updates on the condition of injured passengers. While there, a sheriff’s officer approached the journalist and asked for his identification before escorting him out of the building. Another cameraman with television broadcaster ABC, who was standing alongside the Sing Tao reporter when the officer approached, was allowed to remain.

The Sing Tao reporter claims the officer, in a congenial tone, asked him which paper he represented, and how large its audience was. The officer later explained that the hospital maintains a policy of ranking media according to size and reach, saying that ABC is a major broadcaster with an audience that outrivals the Sing Tao’s. The hospital is, therefore, more lenient toward the larger outlet.

San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi told the Sing Tao in an interview after the incident that the officer’s behavior was not in line with the principles of his office, saying that such incidents have not occurred in the past. He stressed that he would follow up on the issue.

There was no comment from General Hospital.