Internet suffers in Olympic China

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{image-beijing+dark rings_30072008.jpg}Beijing, July 30: With the opening of the Beijing Olympics a mere 9 days away, members of the media have learned that there is at least one thing they can expect not to be open: the Internet.

espite earlier assurances that press would have unfettered access to the Internet at the Main Press Center and athletic venues, organizers are now backtracking, meaning that the some 5,000 reporters working in Beijing during the next several weeks won't have access to a multitude of sites such as Amnesty International or any site with Tibet in the address.

When Chinese officials were bidding for the right to hold the games seven years ago, they assured international organizers that there would be ''complete freedom to report.'' In April, Chinese organizers told International Olympic Committee members that Internet censorship, which is routine for China's citizens, would be lifted for journalists during the games.

However, IOC members issued a clarification Tuesday, July 29, saying that Internet freedom applied only to Web sites related to ''Olympic competitions.'' Some journalists expressed frustration at the slow download rates and even voiced suspicion that it was deliberate and intended to discourage use.

This development is only the latest in a long string of headaches the media have suffered in China while preparing to cover the games.

OneIndia News

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