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Beijing games 2008 30 July 2008

IOC accepts organized online censorship / 奥委会祝贺中国在言论自由方面的进步
Internet censorship is first winner at Beijing games

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. Kevin Gosper, the head of the IOC’s press commission, admitted today: “I also now understand that some IOC officials negotiated with the Chinese that some sensitive sites would be blocked on the basis they were not considered games related.”

Yesterday Gosper 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 International Olympic Committee’s acceptance of the fact the Chinese authorities are blocking access to certain websites at the Olympic Games media centre in Beijing. More than 20,000 foreign journalists are affected.

The organization also 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 and Falungong spiritual movement websites were 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.

Here is Reporters Without Borders’ advice to foreign journalists facing Internet censorship


奥委会主席Jacques Rogge在2008年7月16日宣布对中国政府有关言论自由的保证表示“满意”。Jacques Rogge称,“尽管中国最近通过的有关媒体的法律并非尽善尽美,但是,对中国来说,这却是令人瞩目的进步。外国媒体第一次可以在中国自由报道、播放节目。网络监察将不复存在,可以在天安门自由采访,当然,有些方面仍有待进一步完善,可是我们要客观地说,这的确是一大进步。” Jacques Rogge还强调了中国政府在童工、私有财产国有化的补偿金、环境保护方面取得的“进步”。几天前,Jacques Rogge对法国总统萨科奇出席奥运会开幕式深感喜悦:“我替法国队高兴,因为本国元首出席奥运会对代表队实在是鼓舞士气的好事。” 无国界记者对上述发言深表忧虑。在过去的半年中,中国的高压措施增强:自2008年1月起,24名记者被逮捕或判刑。2008年7月18日,异见者黄琦以 “非法持有国家机密罪”被捕,至今已经被关押了三十七天,而警方却仍在寻找证实该罪行的证据。

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

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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
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Press freedom activist badly beaten in Colombo, hospitalised
29 May - Sri Lanka
Journalists trying to cover fate of Tamils are threatened, obstructed