WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senators Rick Scott and Marsha Blackburn introduced the Chinese-Backed Media Accountability Act to create accountability for Communist China’s censorship of free speech and failure to treat American journalists fairly. In March, the Chinese Communist Party expelled more than a dozen U.S. journalists, and required other outlets to submit written reports of their staff, finances, operations and real estate in China.
The Chinese-Backed Media Accountability Act establishes reciprocity between the U.S. and Communist China by preventing new visa issuances to Chinese state-run media until an accurate account of Chinese journalists in the United States can be provided to Congress. It also limits these visas to no more than the number of American journalists operating in China.
Senator Rick Scott said, “For years, the Communist government in China has tried to push its propaganda in America through state-owned media outlets, while refusing to treat American journalists in China fairly. General Secretary Xi wants to punish anyone that disagrees with him and has built his regime on censorship of free speech. We can’t allow this to continue and we have to take action. The Chinese-Backed Media Accountability Act prevents new visas from going to media backed by the Communist Party of China until we know exactly how many Chinese propaganda outlets are operating in the United States. It also creates reciprocity by making sure the number of Chinese-backed journalists in the United States is equal to the amount of independent American journalists allowed in China. We have to stand up and say that this behavior by Communist China is unacceptable, and I look forward to my colleagues supporting this proposal.”
Senator Marsha Blackburn said, “The Chinese Communist Party cannot be counted on to support the free press while its state-owned media outlets parrot censored information and American journalists in China are treated unfairly. This legislation will give us the ability to keep a close eye on Chinese state-backed journalists in the U.S., ensuring that they are not operating here under false pretenses.”
The Chinese-Backed Media Accountability Act:
- Prevents journalists from the nine media outlets that were labeled by the State Department as “foreign missions” from receiving a visa or renewal of their visa until Congress receives a report from the Secretary of State on how many Chinese journalists are in the United States.
- Subjects all Chinese journalist visas to a 90-day renewal by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
- Establishes reciprocity: The total number of Chinese journalists’ visas shall not exceed the total number of United States journalists in China.
- Requires the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security to submit a report to congress within 45 days on the ongoing monitoring Chinese state-run Journalists.