Saturday, August 02, 2008

International Olympic Committee Under Fire for Internet Restrictions

Personally, I never thought Beijing should have been awarded the 2008 Summer games. By selecting Beijing the International Olympic Committee ("IOC") repeated the mistake made when Hitler's Germany hosted the games in the 1930's. Why give a totalitarian regime a showcase for presenting a totally false image of what their govenment is really all about. If China - and any other country for that matter, including the USA - wants to host the Olympics, then it should be mandatory that ALL press and media be free and unobstructed. This is something that should be non-negotiable and if the IOC had any balls, it'd tell China their restrictions either stop or the Games will be cancel. Period, end of story. To be candid, that's the only way to treat leaders like those in China. Make it clear that they either play by international rules or be utterly shut down. Yes, it'd be terrible for the atheletes, but a statement needs to be ade. Here are some highlights from the Guardian on the current disgraceful situation where China is endeavoring to censor news and media access:
BEIJING, Aug 2 (Reuters) - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Saturday faced mounting questions over Internet censorship, days before the Beijing Games, despite earlier pledges that its use would be unfettered. While China has allowed access to some websites that were blocked earlier in the week, many sites still remain inaccessible to reporters covering the Beijing Olympics that start on Aug. 8. On Friday the IOC had said the issue had been resolved.
Although Internet access will be relatively free for reporters for the period of the Games, it is still tightly controlled for the rest of the country. Sites related to spiritual movement Falun Gong, and other issues that are frowned on, are regularly blocked. Some U.S. newspaper blogs were also blocked.
BOCOG is responsible for directly running the Beijing Games under the auspices of the IOC, which sets general policy. Amnesty International has condemned Internet restrictions during the Games as "betraying the Olympic values".

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