China jails nine reporters over pre-Olympic cover-up: media

A court in China has jailed nine journalists for taking bribes to cover up a deadly mining accident, state media said Tuesday, referring to a disaster that occurred before the Beijing Olympics. The journalists from eight media organisations took hush money from the owner of the coal mine in northern Hebei province in return for not reporting the explosion, the official Xinhua news agency reported. The July 14, 2008 accident killed 34 miners and was covered up for 85 days in an apparent bid to spare China embarrassment in the run-up to the Games, previous media reports have said. The nine journalists received jail sentences ranging from 18 months to 16 years, Xinhua said, citing the General Administration of Press and Publication. A tenth journalist who also took bribes has been banned from working in the media industry, it added. After a cabinet-level inquiry into the cover-up state prosecutors charged 48 government and mining officials and 10 journalists, previous reports said.

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