CHINA - International Olympic Committee unable to guarantee press freedom during games



    MONTREAL, July 30 /CNW Telbec/ - 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.




For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, Executive Director,
Reporters Without Borders Canada, (514) 521-4111, rsfcanada@rsf.org

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