Last year, reporters were constantly barred from covering preparations for the Winter Olympics. “Access to routine events has been denied and prohibited from visiting sports facilities in China,” the FCC said in a statement.
“Our members’ requests to the organizing committee about how to cover the Games have been met with contradictory responses or have been ignored,” the same note reads.
The Correspondents Club added, “We call on the Organizing Committee and the International Olympic Committee to improve the conditions for practicing journalism before and during the Games.”
The FCC has noted several restrictions on coverage of past Olympic events that the Chinese state press has been able to access, such as the arrival of the Olympic torch in Beijing on October 20.
The same source expressed regret that “the dates of many activities have not been announced in advance, or that the organizing committee announces them within hours of their occurrence.”
The participation of foreign journalists was also rejected because “the organizing committee limits the attendance of the selected media, saying that the quota is full, or because they require participants to send in the results of Covid-19 tests by an impossible deadline.”
The same source cited dozens of examples of obstruction of coverage provided by its members.
The Japanese press won two places for covering the arrival of the Olympic torch in Beijing, but the photographer charged with the coverage was rejected by the organizing committee “because two weeks ago he was in a place with some cases of Covid-19”.
“They contacted us at the last minute and said there was no time to choose an alternative,” the agency said.
The FCC noted that these kinds of obstacles violate both Article 48 of the Olympic Charter and Beijing’s pledges when submitting its bid to host the Winter Games to “freely report on the Games and preparations for them.”
Beijing is scheduled to host the Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games starting on February 4.
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