AAJA stands with Flatwater Free Press journalist Yanqi Xu, who was the target of comments about her nationality

The Asian American Journalists Association stands with Yanqi Xu, the Flatwater Free Press journalist who was the target of remarks that attempted to dismiss her reporting because of her country of origin.

The Free Press last month published Xu’s deeply reported piece looking at the environmental impact of Pillen Family Farms, Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen’s company. When asked about the story during a radio interview, Pillen said he had not read the story, and “The author is from communist China. What more do you need to know?” 

Journalists play an indispensable role in holding power to account and informing the public. Having an independent and diverse press corps is essential to democracy, and Xu, an investigative reporter who grew up in China, deserves to do her job without being judged because of her nationality. 

We join the Flatwater Free Press in giving our unwavering support to Xu, whom we are proud to call a member.

Our communities have seen a troubling trend in anti-Asian discrimination, xenophobia and violence in recent years, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic and rising geopolitical tensions. AAJA continues to encourage newsrooms to support their AAPI journalists as they cover such incidents or experience discrimination themselves.

We are committed to supporting diverse journalists who are working to hold governments and elected officials accountable, and we denounce statements that may fuel xenophobia or prejudice.

– AAJA Board of Directors

The Asian American Journalists Association is a professional membership association founded in 1981. Since its founding, AAJA has been at the forefront of change in the journalism industry, advocating for accurate, comprehensive and fair coverage of the AAPI community. We champion the development of AAPI representation and leadership in journalism through trainings, opportunities and resources for our members as well as through nurturing and maintaining a network and community of AAPI journalists globally. Learn more at www.aaja.org or follow us on Twitter @AAJA.

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