Sunday, December 03, 2006

RBW: Journos' freedom during the 2008 Olympics

Reporters Without Borders has called "China the world's leading jailer of journalists, with 32 in prison as of last January." There are a lot of mixed views and concerns about this new rule on press freedom for the 200,000 journalists expected to flood China during the 2008 Olympics. Although this rule is sure to please members of the IOC, Reporters without borders remain skeptical and so do I. Here is why.

RWB: Reporters Without Borders today hailed a foreign ministry decision, taken under international pressure, to loosen regulations for foreign journalist working in China. From the beginning of next month until October 2008, foreign journalists with accreditation for the Olympic and Paralympic Games will be able to travel freely throughout China, including Tibet and Xinjiang.

“The campaigns against the archaic restrictions on the work of the foreign press have not been in vain,” the press freedom organisation said. “The organisers of the Olympic Games, especially Liu Qi, have kept their promises. But this positive development is eclipsed by today’s appeal court decision to uphold a three-year prison sentence for New York Times researcher Zhao Yan.” (more)

Washington Post: Bob Ctvrtlik, a member of the IOC, said Friday that China's announcement debunked the notion that authorities would not adapt to welcome the Games.

"This is a very important step for us," Ctvrtlik said. "The IOC and the IOC membership received criticism for the decision six years ago" to award the Games to Beijing, "and I think many people at the time said significant changes could not occur. I think this action proves that not to be the case."

BBC: The rules expire after the Olympics and there are doubts about how effectively they will be applied.

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