Monday, November 11, 2013

Bloomberg denies it spiked stories on China

Bloomberg News denied Sunday reports that the global news service killed stories on Chinese corruption out of concern that its journalists might be kicked out of the country.

The New York Times, in a story by its Beijing correspondent, reported on Friday that Bloomberg News editor-in-chief Matthew Winkler last month ordered Asia-based journalists last month to spike a story that they had been working for months on financial ties between a wealthy Chinese businessman and the families of top Chinese leaders. Bloomberg subsequently also halted another story -- about the children of senior Chinese officials employed by foreign banks -- the Times reported.

"As we were very clear with the Times, it is absolutely false that we postponed these stories due to external pressure," Bloomberg News said in a statement. "We are disappointed that they chose to publish a piece that claims otherwise."

The Times' story followed an animated video by Hong Kong-based Next Media, released on Nov. 7, that portrayed Bloomberg News as acquiescing to the Chinese government's pressure.

Winkler denied that the stories were permanently shelved, telling the Times that they're still "active." Other Bloomberg editors also told the Times that the reporters have been asked to collect more evidence.

In an e-mail sent to Bloomberg staffers on Sunday, Winkler also said "there has been no change in policy on how and when we publish our stories."

"There have been several misleading reports over the last few days by rival news organizations about our reporting in China," he wrote. "Our mandate is to provide definitive coverage of economies, markets, companies and industries worldwide, and we will continue to hold all reporting to the highest standards possible."

The Times reported that Winkler was moved to intervene on the stories because he feared China might revoke the Bloomberg reporters' working visas.

"He said he was looking at the example of how news organizations worked in Nazi Germany, how! they were able to stay there, how they were able to write in that environment," a Bloomberg employee told the Times.

In 2012, Bloomberg News published a series of stories revealing the personal wealth of the families of Chinese leaders. The New York Times also ran stories on the subject.

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