2008 Beijing Games: China continues to jam international radio stations during Olympic Games

    MONTREAL, Aug. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - The Chinese authorities are continuing
to jam the Chinese, Tibetan and Uyghur-language broadcast of several
international radio stations although they promised to respect press freedom
and the free flow of information during the Olympic Games, Reporters Without
Borders said today.
    "An international media outcry forced the Chinese government to stop
blocking access to websites, but there has been no similar gesture towards the
international radio stations such as the BBC, Voice of America, Radio Free
Asia and Voice of Tibet, which are being jammed within China," Reporters
Without Borders said.
    "The right of foreign journalists to unrestricted Internet access has
been partially guaranteed, but what about the hundreds of millions of Chinese,
Tibetans and Uyghurs who are denied independent news and information," the
press freedom organisation said. "How will the Olympic Games have helped to
loosen the government's grip on the news media."
    The organisation added: "It was partly in order to draw attention to this
censorship that Reporters Without Borders organised a clandestine FM broadcast
in Beijing on 8 August."
    Reporters Without Borders has confirmed from various sources in China
that the jamming of Chinese-language broadcasts by the BBC, VOA, RFA and Sound
of Hope (a station linked to the Falun Gong) and Tibetan and Uyghur-language
broadcasts by RFA and Voice of Tibet has not stopped before or during the
Olympic Games. The jamming of Tibetan-language programmes has even been
stepped up in recent months.
    Except for one reporter with RFA's Tibetan service, journalists with the
BBC, VOA and RFA have been able to get visas to go to China during the Olympic
Games but their potential listeners have not been permitted audible reception
of their broadcasts.
    The staff of Voice of Tibet, a station based in Norway that broadcasts
Tibetan and Chinese-language programmes to Tibet, report an increase in
jamming of their three short-wave frequencies. The Chinese authorities use
eight broadcasts from six different points within China (Beijing, Xian,
Urumqi, Kashi, Hainan and Fuzhou) to make Voice of Tibet inaudible. Around 100
antennae have been installed in Tibet to jam international radio broadcasts.
    "Our three frequencies are registered internationally for exclusive use
for the broadcasting of our station's programming," Voice of Tibet director
Oystein Alme said. "But no one is capable of defending us against the Chinese
jamming and, what's more, our website is still blocked."
    Complaints have been filed with the international body that regulates
broadcasting but the Chinese government cites "technical problems" and has
never kept its promises to respect the relevant international regulations.

For further information:

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

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