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IOC Allows China To Censor The Internet

From an approving Reuters:

IOC admits Internet censorship deal with China

By Nick Mulvenney

BEIJING (Reuters) – Some International Olympic Committee officials cut a deal to let China block sensitive websites despite promises of unrestricted access, a senior IOC official admitted on Wednesday…

China had committed to providing media with the same freedom to report on the Games as they enjoyed at previous Olympics, but journalists have this week complained of finding access to sites deemed sensitive to its communist leadership blocked.

“I regret that it now appears BOCOG has announced that there will be limitations on website access during Games time,” IOC press chief Kevan Gosper said, referring to Beijing’s Olympic organizers.

“I also now understand that some IOC officials negotiated with the Chinese that some sensitive sites would be blocked on the basis they were not considered Games related,” he said.

Attempts at the main press centre to access the website of Amnesty International, which released a report on Monday slamming China for failing to honor its Olympic human rights pledges, continued to prove fruitless by mid-week.

Other websites, including those relating to the banned spiritual group Falun Gong, are also inaccessible.

Beijing organizers said censorship would not stop journalists doing their jobs in reporting the Games.

“We are going to do our best to facilitate the foreign media to do their reporting work through the Internet,” BOCOG spokesman Sun Weide told a news conference.

“I would remind you that Falun Gong is an evil, fake religion which has been banned by the Chinese government.”

Reporters without Borders, a Paris-based media watchdog, said it was increasingly concerned that there would be many cases of censorship during the Olympics.

“We condemn the IOC’s failure to do anything about this, and we are more skeptical about its ability to ensure that the media are able to report freely,” the group said in a statement…

One suspects this news is the real reason the bravos of the IOC decided that maybe they shouldn’t ban the Iraqi team after all.

Still, there is quite a disparity in treatment.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, July 30th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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