The Olympics

The Olympics


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Wednesday, 6 September 2006

Press Freedom At The 2008 Olympics

The Beijing 2008 Olympics organisers have promised that the media will be allowed to move freely around China.

That at least is what Britain's minister for culture media and sport, Tessa Jowell, is saying.

The promise has been given by Liu Qi, the head of the organising committee. In the event that the promise is honoured, it would mean a drastic change in the current restrictions imposed on journalists in China. Correspondents are frequently detained by police, and sent back to Beijing when they try to cover sensitive stories in the provinces.

Jowell, who is visiting Beijing as UK Olympic minister, claims that she received a positive response when she raised the issue 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."

As with all political promises, parts of it are unclear; eg whether this new openness would apply only for the duration of the Olympics, or be permanent.

Jowell went on to say:

"I believe that once we establish freedom in this way, even after the delegates and the athletes have gone home, China won't reverse it and the Games will have a lasting legacy of opening China to the world."

The proof of the pudding, as the old saying goes, is in the eating.

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