No Press Freedom During Olympic Games

Tuesday, 29 July 2008 20:00 Reporters Without Borders Editorial Dept - Free Press
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China - The Chinese authorities confirmed today that the 20,000 foreign journalists covering the Olympic Games will not have unrestricted access to the Internet during their stay. International Olympic Committee media chief Kevan Gosper nonetheless yesterday said the IOC's key concern was to "ensure that the media are able to report on the games as they did in previous games."

Reporters Without Borders condemns the cynicism of the Chinese authorities, who have yet again lied, and the IOC's inability to prevent this situation because of its refusal to speak out for several years.


"Yet another broken promise!" the press freedom organisation said. "Coming just nine days before the opening ceremony, this is yet another provocation by the Chinese authorities. This situation increases our concern that there will be many cases of censorship during the games. We condemn the IOC's failure to do anything about this, and we are more than sceptical about its ability to 'ensure' that the media are able to report freely."

Sun Weide, the chief spokesman for the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG), today said the authorities would only guarantee "sufficient" Internet access for accredited media.

 


The Internet that foreign journalists in China can access is only relatively free. Yesterday, they were unable to access a new Amnesty International report entitled "The Olympic countdown - broken promises" or the websites for many foreign media, such as the BBC's Chinese-language service, the German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle, the Hong Kong-based Apple Daily and the Taiwan-based Liberty Time. The Reporters Without Borders website was also inaccessible.

Last February, the IOC announced that athletes would be allowed to keep blogs during the games as they were "a legitimate form of personal expression and not a form of journalism" but it said the blogs would have to free of political content.



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