Associated Press
Syrian President Bashar Assad, right, meets meets the delegation of the Communist
Chinese Party, headed by
Changchun (AP)

Journalistic Freedom Takes a Hit in Latest Olympic Development

July 31, 2008 01:02 PM
by Sarah Amandolare
Despite promising not to, China has blocked media access to certain Web sites, deflating journalists’ hopes of freely covering all aspects of the games.

30-Second Summary

According to Reuters, the International Olympic Committee “cut a deal to let China block sensitive Web sites despite promises of unrestricted access.”

Earlier this month, Chinese officials reiterated that foreign journalists would be able to report freely during the Olympic Games. Senior Chinese leader Li Changchun told journalists, “I hope you could truly and fully cover the event and tell the world (about) a true China,” but that sentiment seems to have changed.

This week, journalists in the Olympic village have complained of blocked access to “sites deemed sensitive to its communist leadership,” such as Amnesty International, which released a report denigrating China for not honoring its pledge to protect Olympic human rights.

Meanwhile, President Bush has drawn criticism from human rights activists for his recent interviews with two media outlets controlled by China’s Communist Party known to edit interviews and articles as they see fit.

The Chinese government has an advanced Internet censorship system, but holes have appeared in recent months. Access to the BBC online is now allowed, and bloggers have figured out ways to bypass government firewalls.

Despite censorship and various issues of concern for Olympians and journalists heading to Beijing, hope for a turnaround in China is still expressed. The Games could ignite change, some say.

Headline Links: China tightly wrapped

Background: Broken promises

Related Topics: The Internet in China; Beijing overhaul

Opinion & Analysis: A chance for change


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