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Media crackdowns: two years before Beijing Olympics

Posted by Author on August 11, 2006

Reporters Without Borders, 7 August– When the Summer Olympic Games open in Beijing two years from today, on 8 August 2008, neither the Beijing Organising Committee (BOCOG) nor the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will be in a position to guarantee that the thousands of journalists covering the event will be able move about freely or write what they think, although the Chinese authorities promised they would.

Reporters Without Borders is outraged that, 730 days before the start of the Beijing Games, the Chinese authorities are able to continue a crackdown on the press with virtually nothing being said by the IOC or the national Olympic committees. Nothing seems capable of eliciting a reaction from the Olympic bodies, not even restrictions on the foreign press.

“This silence allows the Chinese government to shamelessly continue its massive human rights violations,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Already marred by corruption, the preparation of the games has been accompanied by a crackdown on dissent, which officials say is necessary to make sure they are safe.” The press freedom organisation also fears that all the surveillance and crowd-control equipment that China has bought from US, Israeli and French companies to ensure security at the games, will afterwards be used for repression.

As part of the preparations for the Games, the Chinese government has established an arsenal of laws and regulations that impose very strict content control on journalists, website editors and bloggers. There is no guarantee that the Chinese and international public will get unrestricted and impartial coverage of the Beijing Games.

For example, current regulations, which were reinforced in April by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), ban the Chinese media from using foreign news agency video footage without government permission. Under these circumstances, disinformation by the Chinese media before and during the games is inevitable.

So the sadly unforgettable scenarios of Berlin in 1936 and Moscow in 1980 could easily be played out again in Beijing. (to be cont’d… )

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Related:
China: seven websites shut down in the past few weeks
Internet essayist put in prison as verdict is delayed
China’s new wave of Internet censorship, RSF
AI report 2006- China overview(2)

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