Foreign reporters urge China to improve press freedoms
Foreign journalists in China warned Wednesday that a hostile environment was developing for foreign correspondents ahead of the August Olympic Games because of death threats and government criticism of foreign media over their Tibet coverage, the dpa reported.
The government has also interfered in foreign correspondents' coverage of Tibet, the Foreign Correspondents Club of China said 100 days before the opening of the Olympic Games, for which tens of thousands of additional media personnel were expected in China.
"If allowed to continue, the reporting interference and hate campaigns targeting international media may poison the pre-Games atmosphere for foreign journalists," club president Melinda Liu said.
The organization said 10 foreign correspondents had received anonymous death threats in a campaign in China that is "demonizing" Western media for alleged bias in their coverage of anti-China demonstrations and unrest in Tibetan-populated areas.
It also reported 50 instances of interference by government authorities in reporting in Tibetan communities, including prevention of interviews, searches, and confiscation and destruction of reporting material.
Chinese sources and staff working for foreign media have been intimidated and sometimes ordered to inform on foreign reporters, it said.
The journalists organization urged China to open Tibet and other Tibetan-populated areas to the media, investigate reports of media harassment, improve transparency, guarantee that Chinese sources speaking to foreign news outlets not be punished or intimidated, and extend media regulations that allow unrestricted travel and interviewing by the foreign media beyond the Olympics.