Join our Mailing List

"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Committee to Protect Journalists Cautions of risks to Media during the Olympics

June 8, 2008

By Tenzin Sangmo
Phayul
June 06, 2008

New Delhi, June 6 - The New York based Committee to Protect
Journalists (CPJ) has warned international media of placing Chinese
aides and informants at risk while reporting on sensitive issues
during the Games in Beijing.

"Reporters traveling to China should be aware of the risks to people
they interview or hire, as well as the dangers they face themselves.
Foreign news organizations are instructed to hire local assistants
through authorized service organizations only. Sources and assistants
remain vulnerable to government pressure. Chinese citizens who speak
to the media about sensitive issues or help reporters cover such
matters can be subjected to reprisal," it said.

In its eighty page report duly entitled 'Falling Short' the CPJ
stated that China in 2001 in its bid for hosting the 2008 Summer
Olympics along with Istanbul, Osaka, Paris and Toronto made a
powerful argument that Beijing deserved the international showcase as
a world economic power with its leaders supposedly eager to create a
more open society. As part of the bid process China pledged complete
freedom for all accredited journalists. This was furthered by IOC's
evaluation commission who in their report issued on April 3, 2001
quoted China's promise that "there will be no restrictions on media
reporting and movement of journalists up to and including the Olympic Games."

The day before Beijing was named as the host city for the Olympics,
Wang Wei, Vice President of the Beijing Organizing Committee said on
July 12, 2001, "We will give the media complete freedom when they
come to China".

The media however faced the invariable truth the very next day when
Chinese censors blocked CBS News from sending footage of the Falun
Gong. The oppressive reality and uncanny nature of Chinese
authorities create resentment and tensions simmer in the wake to the Olympics.

After Beijing ordered US owned hotels in China to install internet
filters that will monitor international visitors to the Games in
August, Senator Brownback in his statement said, "This is wrong, it
is against international conventions. It is certainly against the
Olympic spirit. The Chinese government should not do that, and should
remove that request and that order."

There is also a guide to Chinese laws for foreigners coming to China
during the Olympics. The 'Legal Guidelines for Foreigners Entering,
Exiting and Staying in China during the Olympics' was published in
Mandarin on the Beijing Olympic Committee's website this week. The
handbook poses 57 guiding principles which prohibits visitors from
indulging in public nuisance like getting drunk freely, public
display of affection, making political statements, carrying weapons
and arms, wearing t-shirts with bold and antagonizing messages and
warns of criminal prosecution against those who defaces or insults
the national flag or other insignias.

According to CPJ sensitive topics that can be associated with trouble
are problems with the Olympics, Tibet issue, protests over social or
environmental concerns, HIV/AID patients, North Korean refugees and
the mention of the banned Falun Gong spiritual group.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
Developed by plank