Afrique Ameriques Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
 
Beijing Olympics 16 April 2008

Coca-Cola urged at annual shareholders meeting to make commitment to human rights in China and Tibet

A Reporters Without Borders representative spoke at Coca-Cola’s annual shareholders meeting today in the US city of Wilmington, Delaware, asking the company, an official sponsor of the Beijing Olympic Games, to clarify its policies in China. The press freedom organisation is urging all the sponsors to sign a declaration of responsibility undertaking to clearly demonstrate their “commitment to human rights.”

Other Reporters Without Borders members were stationed outside today’s meeting to tell participants about the situation of free speech in China.

“We became a shareholder in Coca-Cola in order to be able to make the shareholders, executives and consumers of one of the leading Olympic sponsors aware of the problems of human rights and freedoms in China and Tibet,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Coca-Cola and the other companies that finance the Olympic Games have a role to play in ensuring respect for the Olympic Charter they signed.

“As the political significance of these games is now evident to the entire world, Coca-Cola can no longer remain silent about human rights violations in Tibet and the current crackdown on dissidents in China. It is perfectly legitimate to do business in China, but Coca-Cola and the other sponsors also have a duty to promote activity in China in support of the Olympic values of human dignity and harmonious development.”

Reporters Without Borders added: “In the declaration we are proposing to all the sponsors, we are asking them to take a position in favour of freedom in China and to create a support fund for the families of political prisoners.”

The Reporters Without Borders spokesperson who intervened during today’s annual shareholders meeting was the organisation’s US representative, Lucie Morillon. Referring to the proposed declaration for Olympic sponsors, she urged Coca-Cola’s executives to take a public position on the violations of human rights and free speech committed by the country hosting this summer’s games.

"Don’t you think that repression in China and Tibet is in danger of harming the Coca-Cola brand image around the world," Morillon asked. "If you do nothing in support of rights and freedoms, Reporters Without Borders will consider the possibility of asking consumers to protest," she added.

Coca-Cola CEO Neville Isdell replied that the company supports press freedom worldwide but he would have to read the declaration before taking a position on it.

PDF - 43.9 kb
Declaration of responsibility



In this country
3 June - China
“Tank Man” photo displayed outside Chinese embassy in Paris on eve of Tiananmen Square massacre
2 June - China
All references to Tiananmen Square massacre closely censored for 20 years
12 May - China
Foreign reporters prevented from working in Sichuan a year after earthquake
24 April - China
Concern that detained Tibetan magazine editor is being tortured
25 March - China
Government blocks access to YouTube

in the annual report
China - Annual report 2008
China - Annual report 2007
China - Annual report 2006

reports
4 May 2009 - Nepal
Mission report : A call to end violence and impunity
2 April 2009 - Pakistan
Fact-finding visit by Reporters Without Borders to Swat “valley of fear”
16 March 2009 - Afghanistan
Report of fact-finding mission : Press freedom in free-fall in run-up to presidential election
archives

Asia archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives

Asia press releases
3 June - North Korea
Pyongyang judges asked to be lenient with two American journalists
3 June - Afghanistan
US forces arrest a journalist in Khost
2 June - China
Blocking of Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Blogger deprives Chinese of Web 2.0
2 June - Sri Lanka
Press freedom activist badly beaten in Colombo, hospitalised
29 May - Sri Lanka
Journalists trying to cover fate of Tamils are threatened, obstructed