China admits it is censoring the web access of journalists reporting on the Olympics:
Chinese officials say foreign journalists covering the Beijing Olympic Games will not have completely uncensored access to the internet. A top spokesman said sites relating to spiritual movement Falun Gong would be blocked. Another said other unspecified sites would also be unavailable. China enforces tough internet controls, but said when it bid for the Games that journalists would be free to report.
Clearly, if journalists don’t know something is happening, they will not be free to report it, indeed they will be prevented from doing so.
So China is going back on what it agreed to when it put in its bid for the Olympics.
The International Olympic Committee are aware of this:
A senior International Olympic Committee (IOC) member confirmed that while journalists would have free range to cover the Games, the IOC was aware some sites would be blocked.
Meanwhile, the IOC’s Kevan Gosper seems a bit confused:
In an interview with the South China Morning Post, IOC press commission chairman Kevan Gosper apologised for inadvertently misleading journalists over unfettered internet access.
“I’m not backing off what I said. There will be full, open and free internet access during Games time to allow journalists to report on the Olympics,” he told the daily.
“But I have also been advised that some of the IOC officials had negotiated with the Chinese that some sensitive sites would be blocked.”
So sites will be freely accessible and blocked at the same time, will they? Gosper is clearly bullshitting, and doing it incompetently at that.
China should never have been given the Olympics in the first place, not until after they had demonstrably cleaned up their human rights record. In future, to avoid such scandals, perhaps they should be held in Olympia in Greece every four years.
UPDATE: the censorship of the Internet has been partially lifted.