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Daily Democracy

Ryan Blethen discusses the press, media and democracy. Daily Democracy is part of the Democracy Papers, a series of articles, essays and editorial opinion examining threats to our freedoms of speech and the press.

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April 11, 2008 11:36 AM

Olympic journalism

Posted by Ryan Blethen

It appears journalists are jumping hurdles in China trying to cover the run-up to the Beijing Olympics.

According to a Washington Post report:

A new Chinese law, in theory, allows journalists to travel freely throughout the country this year and to interview any willing subject without advance permission, apart from special permits needed for travel to Tibet. But the law has not been enforced. Foreign journalists continue to be detained while covering sensitive stories and, in most cases, cannot get permission to visit Tibet.

I heard a lot about this law when I was in China. Official after official stated that foreign journalists would not be blocked from doing their jobs in any way. I asked how long the law would continue after the games. The official I was meeting with pointed to my handler from the Foreign Ministry and said I would have to ask him. The answer was a quick grin and a blank stare.

Links to my reports from China can be found here, here, and here.

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