Foreign journalists covering the 2008 Beijing Olympics will be able to travel freely throughout China and have unrestricted access to the Internet, the event organizers guaranteed yesterday.
"We've no restrictions on travel for foreign journalists in China," Sun Weijia, head of media operations for the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG), told the Olympic World Press Briefing. "They can travel anywhere in China."
Liu Qi, president of BOCOG, said detailed, new regulations on the operation of foreign media would be in place early next year. "The new rules will consider the norms of the past Games and the needs of the media," Liu explained. "The Chinese government will honor our promises and commitments made during our bid to host the Games."
Media services head Li Jingbo said Internet access provided to news services during the Games would be unrestricted.
Organizers also explained that the foreign media would have access to the Chinese team, although journalists would require to apply three weeks in advance to secure interviews.
Measures taken to ensure a sound working environment for foreign journalists are contained in a regulation that exempts those with Olympic identification and accreditation cards from having to hold visas. Instead their Olympic identity cards will allow them to make multiple entries to China during the Games.
Journalists will be able to secure temporary entry permission for overseas vehicles and provision will be made for them to apply for temporary driving permits. They will also be able to rent apartments and offices through local real-estate agencies.
The Press Commission of the Chinese Olympic Committee will assist foreign journalists arrange interviews with Chinese athletes. Foreign media organizations will be able to install their own radio systems during the Games and can bring their equipment into the country tax-free.
They'll also be able to apply for permission to film cultural relics through the BOCOG which will acquire permission from the State Administration of Cultural Heritage on their behalf.
And the BOCOG will help organizations wishing to film Olympic events from the air get permission from the relevant authorities.
Another new policy will regulate the foreign media's employment of Chinese citizens during the Games.
(China Daily September 28, 2006)