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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

WAN urges China to release jailed journalists, allow free reporting from Tibet

October 30, 2008

By Phurbu Thinley
October 29, 2008

Dharamsala, October 29 -- The World Association of Newspapers (WAN)
and World Editors Forum (WEF) while welcoming China's decision to
extend new freedoms granted during the Olympics have called on the
Chinese government to "take further steps to uphold international
standards of press freedom".

In the run-up to the Beijing Olympics, Chinese government introduced
new rules that allowed foreign journalists greater freedom to travel
in the country without prior government permission and to talk to
anyone who was willing to be interviewed.

Those regulations were set to expire on 17 October; however, shortly
before they expired new regulations were introduced that recognise
these rights.

But in a joint letter to the Chinese premier Wen Jiabao, WAN
president Gavin O'Reilly and WEF president Xavier Vidal-Folch have
pointed out that the relaxed rules do not include domestic
journalists and do not address fundamental rights necessary for the
proper functioning of a free press.

The letter, dated October 21, 2008, says: "For example, there is no
protection of news sources, it is not possible to report freely on
Tibet and hotels are obliged to report the arrival of a foreign
journalist to police.

"Furthermore, with more than 30 journalists and at least 50 cyber
reporters imprisoned, China jails more journalists than any other country.

"We respectfully call on you to extend the relaxed regulations to
domestic journalists, to introduce further reforms so that your
country might fully respect international standards of press freedom,
and to ensure that all those detained for exercising their right to
freedom of expression are immediately released from prison."

The Paris-based WAN, the global organisation of the world's press, is
encouraging newspapers and other media world-wide to join the
campaign for more press freedom in China by publishing new
advertisements that highlight Chinese repression and call on
authorities to allow more freedom of expression.

China is known as the world's biggest jailer of journalists. The
general view is that real figure of journalists and cyber reporters
imprisoned in China is actually much higher, but since families and
friends of imprisoned journalists are threatened into silence,
information on other cases remains unavailable.

WAN, with formal representative status at the United Nations, UNESCO
and the Council of Europe, defends and promotes press freedom and the
professional and business interests of newspapers world-wide. It
represents 18,000 publications in 102 countries, 12 news agencies and
11 regional and world-wide press groups.

WEF is the organization for editors within the WAN.
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