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France 11 August 2008

Senate speaker excludes press from meeting with Dalai Lama

Reporters Without Borders calls on French senate speaker Christian Poncelet to reverse his decision to exclude the press from a meeting in Paris on 13 August between French parliamentarians and the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, who arrived in France today for a two-week visit.

“The senate speaker is trying yet again to please the Chinese government by refusing to let the press cover a meeting between the Dalai Lama and members of the French parliament,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Poncelet is portraying it as a strictly private visit in which the senate does not want to be involved. But in practice, he is trying to prevent the press talking about an event of great importance for the Tibetan community.”

Several journalists told Reporters Without Borders today that they have been refused accreditation by the senate press office. In reality, journalists will be banned from the senate altogether on 13 August.

President Nicolas Sarkozy has announced that he will not meet the Dalai Lama, a Nobel peace laureate, during his visit. China’s ambassador to France had threatened reprisals in the event of such a meeting.




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