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CPJ: IOC Must Assure Freedom to Cover Beijing Games

A leading group defending a free press wants a "don't trust and make sure to verify" (our characterization) approach to China’s press policies as it hosts yet another Olympics.

The Committee to Protect Journalists was not particularly happy with the choice of Beijing for the Winter Olympic Games in 2022—announced by the International Olympic Committee Friday (July 31)—and called on the IOC to make sure journalists are free to cover "all aspects" of the games, including construction, protests and any corruption allegations.

"Beijing has consistently clamped down on the basic human right of free expression by stifling criticism and silencing dissent," said Bob Dietz, CPJ's Asia program coordinator, in a statement following the awarding of the games. "China's record on press freedom and human rights is not one that deserves to be rewarded."

Human rights organizations have expressed concern about China's deteriorating human rights situation, said CPJ, including cracking down on journalists. 

China hosted the 2008 games and pledged to ease restrictions on media, which CPJ said, for the most part, didn’t happen.

Instead, says CPJ, China is, as of 2014, the leader in jailing journalists, at least 4, and has passed restrictive new laws on—and denied visas to—international journalists.

NBCU has the U.S. TV and Internet rights to the Olympic Games through 2032.