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US Calls for Press Freedom for Journalists Attending Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics

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Workers install a Beijing 2022 emblem for a countdown clock to mark the number of days till the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, China May 8, 2019. Picture taken May 8, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

By Michael Houston |

The United States has urged China to not restrict access and movement for journalists attending the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, following recent concerns over transparency from the organisers.

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price called for the country to instate press freedoms, including at the Games during a press briefing, according to Reuters.

“We urge PRC (People’s Republic of China) officials not to limit freedom of movement and access for journalists and to ensure that they remain safe and able to report freely, including at the Olympic and the Paralympic Games,” said Price.

It follows on from the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China’s (FCCC) statement on Tuesday (November 2) which criticised a lack of transparency for the Organising Committee and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on sports reporting in the country.

“We call on Beijing 2022 and the IOC to improve international reporting conditions in the run-up to, and during, the Games,” read the statement.

“Over the last year, the foreign press corps has been continuously stymied in its coverage of Winter Olympic Games preparations, denied attendance at routine events, and prevented from visiting sports venues in China.

“With less than three months remaining before the start of Beijing 2022, there is still tremendous uncertainty over how and if foreign correspondents will be able to cover the Games.

“In the last year, the foreign press corps has largely been unable to attend any press conferences or even observe routine events – such as venue visits or the arrival of the Olympic Flame – which are open to Chinese domestic media.”

In the briefing, Price said there was not yet an update on the US’ participation at the Games, with talks of a diplomatic boycott being discussed previously.

The IOC said it was planning to address concerns about press freedom with the organisers, which has been a worry for journalists since the Chinese capital was awarded the 2022 Games in 2015.

In the latest playbook, all participants at the Games will be subject to daily COVID-19 testing, with international media being in a “closed loop” for the duration of the Olympics and Paralympics.

The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games are scheduled to take place from February 4 to 20 2022, followed by the Paralympics from March 4 to 13.

Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.

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