The International Olympic Committee has re-iterated its pledge to encourage the Beijing 2008 organizers to provide all foreign media outlets with full Internet access during their time in the host nation.
In a press release issued by the IOC, they pledge to work to give media "the fullest access possible" to the Internet, but their inclusion of the word "possible" leaves open the door that global media will still have their hands tied when accessing websites from inside the Middle Kingdom.
For journalists hoping to gain an insight into the "real China", they will now have a taste of it as they find their Internet use curtailed at the Lenovo-sponsored media lounges. Lenovo is providing two PC service centers and two Internet lounges for the approximately 30,000 international journalists expected to use the Main Press Center and Beijing International Media Center during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Lenovo is providing a team of nearly 600 engineers and technicians to support the Olympic Games, of which about 100 will support the Main Press Center and the Beijing International Media Center. Support will reportedly continue during the Paralympic Games in September.
In light of Internet access problems which were experienced this week by media in the Olympic Games Main Press Center in Beijing, Chairman of the Beijing 2008 IOC Coordination Commission Hein Verbruggen and Olympic Games Executive Director Gilbert Felli said they held meetings and discussions yesterday with Games organizers and Chinese authorities.
IOC says issues were put on the table and the IOC requested that the Olympic Games hosts address them. IOC said in their press statement that the Beijing Organizing Committee of the 2008 Olympic Games will give details to the media very soon of how the matter has been addressed, adding that they "trust them to keep their promise".
The IOC also stressed that "no deal with the Chinese authorities to censor the Internet has ever in any way been entered into".
The Foreign Correspondents' Club of China says in recent months it has become more difficult for journalists to obtain visas, delaying or preventing correspondents from coming to China to report ahead of the glorious Olympics. Many websites are blocked and arranging interviews with officials is problematic.
The FCCC has 432 members from 29 countries. The majority are Beijing-based journalists for the world's leading media organizations.