Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Internet Censorship Plagues Journalists at Olympics

Steven Musil writes on C|Net News:

With the opening of the Beijing Olympic Games a mere 10 days away, members of the media have learned that there is at least one thing they can expect not to be open: the Internet.

Despite earlier assurances that journalists would have unfettered access to the Internet at the Main Press Center and athletic venues, organizers are now backtracking, meaning that the some 5,000 reporters working in Beijing during the next several weeks won't have access to a multitude of sites such as Amnesty International or any site with Tibet in the address, according to an Associated Press report.

When Chinese officials were bidding for the right to hold the games seven years ago, they assured international organizers that there would be "complete freedom to report." In April, Chinese organizers told International Olympic Committee members that Internet censorship, which is routine for China's citizens, would be lifted for journalists during the games.

However, IOC members issued a clarification Tuesday, saying that Internet freedom applied only to Web sites related to ''Olympic competitions.'' Some journalists expressed frustration at the slow download rates and even voiced suspicion that it was deliberate and intended to discourage use.

More here.


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