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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

What rights will the foreign press have?

October 20, 2008

Reporter without Borders
October 17, 2008

Just hours before the expiry of the reporting rules for foreign
journalists in China that were introduced in January 2007, Reporters
Without Borders called today on the Chinese authorities to replace
them with measures that provide even better and permanent protection
for the foreign media's work.

"The freedom of movement and freedom to interview that were permitted
for the Beijing Olympic Games were an improvement for the
international media in China," Reporters Without Borders said.
"Although these rights were not sufficiently respected in the field,
they nonetheless made it easier for foreign journalists to do their job.

"We are astounded by the government's failure to say anything, right
up to the last moment, about the fate of the international press. We
had expected a bit more calm and transparency about a decision that
affects thousands of journalists."

The press freedom organisation added: "The end of the temporary
regulations should have been an opportunity to introduce rules
guaranteeing real freedom of movement, including in Tibet, and
freedom to interview people, including officials, combined with
protection for the confidentiality of journalists' communications and
sources. The fate of Chinese journalists and interpreters who are
employed by the foreign press is also still very precarious."

The reporting rules that were introduced for the foreign press and
for the Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan press on 1 January 2007 are due
to expire tonight. They allowed freedom of movement, which was
previously restricted, and freedom to interview.

The rules have been widely violated in practice, according to figures
compiled by the Foreign Correspondents Club of China. This
Beijing-based association says it has been notified of 336 cases of
interference in the work of foreign journalists since January 2007,
including surveillance, arrests, physical attacks, denial of access
and harassment of sources.

Questioned by a foreign journalist on 16 October, foreign ministry
spokesman Qin Gang said the new rules would be announced soon.
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