China correspondents denounce lack of Beijing 2022 coverage access
Beijing, Nov 2 (EFE).- China’s Foreign Correspondents Club denounced Tuesday “the lack of transparency and clarity of the organizing committee and the International Olympic Committee” concerning coverage of the upcoming 2022 Beijing Games.
“In the past year, correspondents have been steadily hampered from coverage of preparations for the Winter Olympics, denied access to routine events and prevented from visiting sports venues in China,” the club said in a statement. “The requests of our members to the organizing committee on how to cover the Games have met contradictory answers or have been ignored.”
“We ask the organizing (and Olympic) committee to improve the conditions for the exercise of journalism in the run-up to and during the Games,” the club said.
The club referred to a series of situations such as limitations on the coverage of previous Olympic events – which the Chinese state media have been able to access – such as the arrival of the Olympic flame in Beijing on Oct. 20.
It also said it regretted that “the dates of many activities are not made public in advance, or the organizing committee announces them within hours of their occurrence,” or that the participation of foreign journalists is denied.
It said this is “because the organizing committee limits attendance to their chosen media, says that the quota is full or because they ask participants to submit Covid-19 test results in an impossible timeframe.”
It also gave a dozen examples of obstruction to Olympic coverage submitted by its members.
“We made a piece for television with material obtained from a tour of an Olympic venue and mentioned the calls for a boycott. Shortly after, the organizer called me and was yelling at me on account of my information, threatening not to invite us again later. They have not allowed us to enter again,” an account signed by an American reporter read.
In another, an Asian media employee said that the Japanese press was awarded two slots to cover the arrival of the Olympic flame in Beijing, and that the photographer designated for the coverage ran into the veto of the organizing committee “because he had been in a county with a few covid cases two weeks earlier.”
“They communicated it to us at the last minute and told us that there was no time to choose a replacement,” he said.
The club said these types of obstacles contravene both Rule 48 of the Olympic Charter and the promises of Beijing when presenting its candidacy for the winter Olympic venue on the “freedom to inform about the games and their preparations.”
Beijing is scheduled to host the next Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games from Feb. 4. EFE