Beijing Winter Olympics committee denies blocking foreign media

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The organizing committee for the Beijing Winter Olympics has rejected accusations that journalists have been blocked in their attempts to cover preparations for the Games.

Earlier this month, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC) accused Chinese authorities of “permanently obstructing” attempts by foreign media to cover the Winter Olympics due to start near the Chinese capital. in February.

In a scathing statement, the FCCC alleged that authorities were refusing or ignoring access requests, and tracking, harassing and mistreating journalists.

The statement contained several specific case accounts of foreign journalists, including verbal abuse and the freezing of a journalist who mentioned human rights boycotts in a report.

“The repeated requests from our members to the organizing committee for the Beijing Winter Olympics [BOCOG] on how the international media can report on the Games have encountered conflicting or completely overlooked responses, ”said the FCCC. “FCCC members say they spent weeks trying to get contact details for BOCOG media hosts, only to receive dismissive or inaccurate information from them. “

In response, BOCOG said China “has never recognized the organization.”

“What this organization has said is inconsistent with the facts and cannot represent the real voice of foreign journalists in China,” she said in a long statement.

BOCOG said it “guarantees freedom of reporting” by international media on the Games in accordance with “relevant Chinese policies” and on condition that reporters comply with “relevant Chinese anti-epidemic laws, regulations and policies.” .

“FREEDOM OF DECLARATION”

However, the statement also made several promises that appeared to respond to calls made by the FCCC, including for a dedicated media liaison office during the Games and for foreign media to be invited to domestic media events.

He said that depending on the epidemic situation, there would be three press conferences for foreign media, organized with the speed skating stadium, the Olympic village and the sports center.

“As the competition unfolds, we will also increase the registration quota for foreign media in the test competition,” he said.

The statement said BOCOG “always welcomed” media attention and reports from foreign journalists on preparations for the Games, always provided good service and denied that there had been “a so-called” inadequate information disclosure ”.

As part of its defense, the committee noted the delivery of 28 issues of an Olympic bulletin to 183 media outlets.

He did not refer to calls by the FCCC to approve long-standing visas for foreign journalists, after dozens were deported last year.

Meanwhile, the Chinese anti-transplant watchdog has set up a special team to oversee the Beijing Winter Olympics to ensure the Games are free from corruption, drugs, the spread of COVID-19 and other risks, the commission announced yesterday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said he wants the Beijing Winter Games, which will be held February 4-20, to be “green, inclusive, open and corruption-free,” signaling the goal of strengthening the soft power of China by presenting a well-organized games.

China’s powerful Central Commission for the Inspection of Anti-Corruption Discipline said in a statement that it has established a task force to oversee COVID-19 prevention measures, which include restricting participants to ” bubble “throughout the Games.

The team would also monitor corruption in the selection and promotion of athletes and event officials, as well as inappropriate spending, he said.

Transplant inspectors have been deployed to various departments of China’s national sports authority, including anti-doping and finance units, each of which is required to provide a daily report to the team.

Xi has made eradicating corruption a policy of signing his tenure as leader.

Reuters additional reports

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