Covering Up Olympic Coverage

In the aftermath of the Sichuan earthquake in May, I described China’s press management as controlled transparency, and mentioned that the cautious manner in which it allowed the world to see its domestic tragedy reflected a lot about how comfortable China was, or wasn’t, with its newfound status. The same obviously goes for the upcoming Olympic Games, and by every indication, China still has some ground to cover. With the opening of the Games just days away, the news has now leaked that Beijing has backtracked on its commitment to press freedom, restricting access to Internet websites ranging from the BBC to Amnesty International or any site with Tibet in the url.

Today, the World Association of Newspapers (with which I have a professional relationship) has begun a campaign trying to pressure China not only to live up to its commitments, but also to free the more than 30 journalists and 50 cyber-reporters that are already imprisoned. Here’s the homepage for the campaign if you’re interested.