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OPC Seeks Ongoing Dialogue with IOC over Press Freedom in 2022 Winter Games
New York, June 17 — The International Olympic Committee assured the Overseas Press Club in a June 14 letter that “it is working constantly to ensure that the media are able to report on the Olympic Winter Games” in Beijing in 2022. But it noted that the IOC cannot “change the laws or the political system of a sovereign country, including its rules that govern the ability of foreign media to cover stories outside the Olympic Games.”
The letter, signed by Christian Klaue, director of the IOC’s corporate communications and public affairs, and Mark Adams, director of Spokesperson’s Services, was in response to a letter the OPC and 28 other media and press freedom groups sent on May 12 urging the IOC to include press freedom issues in its talks with the Chinese government ahead of the 2022 games.
The OPC acknowledged in a return letter on June 17 that the IOC cannot change the laws or political system of a country. But it pointed out that the IOC did not fully respond to specific questions the OPC and its co-signers asked about media coverage of the Winter Games in Beijing.
Some questions that remain include:
- Will correspondents assigned to cover the Games be allowed to freely move around China to get a sense of what the Games mean to Chinese people and the world?
- Will news organizations be allowed to hire translators and local reporting partners without going through a government agency?
- Will the electronic devices of correspondents be subject to screening and surveillance?
The letter requested that the IOC and OPC establish an ongoing dialogue to begin to get answers to these questions as February 2022 approaches.