New York, October 19, 2007—The board of directors of the Committee to Protect Journalists expressed grave concern about the state of press freedom in China 10 months before the scheduled start of the Beijing Olympic Games.
In a resolution adopted Wednesday, the CPJ board said China had failed to live up to its commitment to allow journalists to work freely, a promise its leaders made in their bid to host the Games. In particular, the CPJ board called on Beijing to release the 29 journalists now in prison for their work.
The CPJ board also made the following recommendations:
- “We call for an end to censorship and the dismantling of the elaborate system of media controls. We call for an end to the climate of impunity surrounding retribution meted out by local officials and others angered by critical media coverage.
- We call on the International Olympic Committee, having awarded the Games to China, to demand that the government fully meet its promises of press freedom for the 2008 Olympic Games.
- We call on sponsors of the Games to use their considerable influence to press the government to fully meet its promises of press freedom for the 2008 Olympic Games.
- Finally, we call on media organizations covering the Games to urge China to honor its media pledges to the IOC and ensure that their Chinese colleagues enjoy the same freedoms visiting journalists enjoy.”
In August, CPJ released a special report, Falling Short, outlining China’s failure to live up to its promises on press freedom before the 2008 Olympic Games. CPJ Board Chairman and Wall Street Journal Editor-at-Large Paul E. Steiger traveled to Beijing to release the report.
CPJ’s activities are directed by a 35-member board of prominent journalists and media professionals.