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Beijing Backtrack on Free Media Angers IFJ

Jun. 20, 2008

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has expressed its anger at new restrictions on media as the Olympic Games approach.

A foreign journalist posted in Beijing informed the IFJ that the Beijing organizing committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG) announced in a meeting that it intended to renege on its promises to allow media to broadcast events live from Tiananmen Square.

BOCOG also imposed new requirements such as asking media institutions to submit a detailed route map for broadcasting vehicles. The submissions must account for every day of the Games.

Some broadcasters have been forbidden to import broadcasting vehicles and equipment.

The new restrictions potentially force foreign media organizations to acquire content from Chinese state-owned broadcasters.

Press reports also suggest that China’s authorities are attempting to control and interfere with local people who seek to work as fixers for foreign media.

Further restrictions were imposed this month on foreign journalists reporting from the disaster zone in Sichuan province after the devastating earthquake of May 12. Authorities have denied media access to certain areas, especially collapsed schools which have become the focus of protests by local residents and parents whose children died in the disaster.

The barring of journalists in Sichuan follows heavy vetting of journalists trying to enter Tibet during protests in March.

Local journalists also report to the IFJ that telephone calls continue to be bugged. Liu Shiu, a veteran journalist and freelance writer, was denied work with a financial magazine in Shenzhen in early May and detained by police for 10 hours partly as a result of phone calls intercepted by police.

China is increasingly at odds with its promises to be open to foreign and local media in the lead-up to the Olympic Games, said IFJ Asia-Pacific.

China’s government must show the world and its own citizens that it can keep its promises, including the promise of press freedom.

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries

IMPORTANT NOTICE: INBOX is an archive of press releases, statements, announcements, letters to the editors, and manifestos sent to Davao Today for publication. Please email your materials to davaotoday @ gmail.com. Davao Today is not responsible for the content of these materials. The opinion expessed in these items does not reflect those of Davao Today and its staff. Please refer to our terms of use/disclaimer.

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