On November 17, 2008, the Chinese Legal Journalists Network issued its Report for Justice, which encapsulates two years of work to increase the professionalism of, and support for, journalists reporting on governance and law reform-related issues. During the course of this project, ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) has worked with the network to strengthen journalists’ access to the best substantive legal expertise on key rule of law issues, including new laws requiring access to government information, administrative litigation and the criminal trial process. ABA ROLI and the network have sponsored discussion forums, which offered opportunities for journalists to share strategies with each other. Discussions have covered safety and legal rights of investigative journalists, access to court information, and professionalism and credibility of investigative journalism in China.
The underlying theme throughout this project has been role of journalists in promoting the rule of law. The editors of Report for Justice highlight this in the foreword:
We believe that without the profession and independence of legal journalists, there would not be the legal reporting needed to push forward legal reform and social progress; without the increased professionalism of legal journalists, the professional autonomy and professional ethics of this group will not take shape; without professional boundaries between the media and society’s other public institutions, there is no way to work toward a common belief in and compliance with the rule of law; without a common understanding of the rule of law, there is no way to establish the necessary constraints and mechanisms for supervision between different social forces.
To learn more about our work in China, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.