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Beijing Olympics30 March 2008

Chinese methods rub off on Greece as journalists barred from Acropolis for Olympic flame’s arrival

Reporters Without Borders condemns the Hellenic Olympic Committee’s decision to deny journalists access to the Acropolis in Athens when relay runners arrived there yesterday with the Olympic flame for an overnight stop.

“The media have never been excluded from the Acropolis in this fashion before,” the press freedom organisation said. “Even accredited journalists were unable to cover the Olympic flame’s arrival. The only footage of the event was to be provided by the Hellenic Olympic Committee. Chinese methods are rubbing off on Greece. It was probably the Chinese authorities who persuaded their Greek counterparts to act in this way. It is very regrettable.”

The flame, which was lit on 24 March in Olympia, is due to be handed over to Chinese officials at a ceremony in Athens today. A petition accusing the city authorities of “aligning with totalitarian China” has been signed by some 50 leading members of the Greek left, including many journalists, since 27 March.

The foreign press association in Greece and the Greek Union of Photographers said they were going to protest against this “censorship.”

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Jusuf Ruzimuradov

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