The Olympics

The Olympics


News, information and stories about the Olympic Games.

Tuesday, 12 September 2006

The Definition of Freedom

In an earlier article on this site a few days ago, I noted that Tessa Jowell (Britain's Olympics Minister) when visiting Beijing gushed that she had received a positive response when she raised the issue of press freedom with her counterpart Mr Liu.


"He gave me a clear assurance that he would support unimpeded movement of accredited and non-accredited journalists to report not just on the Games but on China."

Seemingly she was talking bollocks.

Beijing activists are up in arms about China's proposed new controls on foreign news agencies, which give the government's Xinhua News Agency control over distribution within China of news, information and other services from foreign agencies. Xinhua said it would delete items deemed to violate national unity or social stability.

These new controls quite clearly fly in the face of what Jowell was claiming only a few days ago.

Sharon Hom, executive director of Human Rights in China, said in a statement:

"These measures are an authoritarian attempt to control news and information dissemination and the access of China's users to uncensored news and information."

Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said in a statement:

"These new regulations on the distribution of foreign news are a step backward."

Hom said that the new regulations would deprive Chinese society of information needed to address corruption and social problems.

A Paris based group, Reporters Without Borders, said that the regulations might violate China's commitments to the World Trade Organisation.

The European Union said that it would take them up at human rights talks with China in October.

So much for the words and promises of Jowell!

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