FCCJ presses China to free up reporting


OSAKA — Japan-based journalists have joined growing international calls for China to stop restricting Internet access to journalists covering the Beijing Olympics.

“The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan hereby adds its voice to calls for Chinese authorities and the International Olympic Committee to fully lift restrictions on Internet access for journalists covering the Olympics,” the FCCJ said in a statement released Tuesday night.

The statement is to be delivered to the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo by the end of this week.

The FCCJ said it welcomed recent moves by China to restore access to some Internet sites. But it added there were still restrictions that violated a promise made by the Chinese government when Beijing was awarded the Olympics.

“Our colleagues in Beijing tell us that sites related to Tibet and Falun Gong are still blocked. These limitations fall short of the ‘complete freedom to report’ promised by Wang Wei, secretary general of the Beijing Olympic bidding committee, in 2001,” the statement said.

“Governments cannot be the judge of the information journalists need to broadcast in an accurate, well-investigated, impartial way. It’s crucial for journalists all over the world to report in a complete and fair way about the Olympics,” FCCJ President Catherine Makino said.

The FCCJ was founded in 1945. It has approximately 2,150 members, including around 550 foreign and Japanese journalists.