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Olympics: Radio Free Asia protests at media bar

August 14, 2008

By Paul Kelso
Guardian (UK)
August 12, 2008

A radio station banned by the Chinese authorities has filed a formal
complaint with the International Olympic Committee after the Beijing
organising committee (Bocog) failed to issue one of its
correspondents with media accreditation.

Dhondup Gonsar, who is of Tibetan descent and broadcasts in the
Tibetan language on Radio Free Asia (RFA), is yet to receive his
accreditation documents despite his application being approved by the IOC.

The incident has undermined IOC claims that journalists would have
freedom to report during these games. Under Beijing's Olympic
contract with the IOC all accredited persons should be granted access
to the country.

Bocog is responsible for producing the actual accreditation document,
which doubles as a visa. Yesterday Bocog said that Gonsar's documents
remained "in process" and that a decision was "pending".

IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said the matter had been "flagged"
with Bocog but could not say when or if the documents would be issued.

RFA, a non profit-making organisation sponsored by the US Congress,
broadcasts within China via shortwave and on the internet, though its
website is usually blocked by the authorities. It is critical of the
Beijing regime and those in other undemocratic Asian states.

Jill Ku Martin, chief correspondent of RFA's Mandarin service, said
today she suspected her colleague had been barred because of his
Tibetan nationality. "We can only speculate as to why it is happening
but he is of Tibetan descent and broadcasts in the Tibetan language," she said.
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