Press releases & protests
For Immediate Release
Contact: Mark Bench, 703.715.9811
World Press Freedom Committee Receives Grant from the Knight Foundation
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation made a grant to the World Press Freedom Committee to fund a conference and Web campaign concerning China’s information control prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The purpose of the conference, “Beijing Olympics 2008: Championing Press Freedom,” is to highlight the restrictive activities of the Chinese government in censorship and the jailing of journalists and cyber-dissidents.
Despite Chinese assurances that they will permit the foreign press to report freely during the Olympics, it has been reported that the Chinese authorities are already clamping down. With Knight Foundation’s $250,000 grant, the WPFC aims to sensitize the press in general and specifically international sports journalists to the conditions they will encounter at the upcoming Olympic Games.
The conference will be held April 18 and 19, 2008, in Paris, France. Sports editors, journalists and photo editors among others will be invited to attend and/or participate.
Co-sponsors of the conference will be World Association of Newspapers, Reporters Without Borders, Committee to Protect Journalists, and Human Rights in China. Other members of the Coordinating Committee of Press Freedom Organizations will participate in the planning and execution of the conference. (http://www.wpfc.org/CoordinatingCommittee.html)
It was reported in WPFC’s conference on press freedom implications of the new media in Paris in February 2007 that China may be exporting its Internet censorship and surveillance expertise abroad.
WPFC’s monitoring activities further alerted affiliates that during the UN’s Internet Governance Forum in Athens in late 2006 that the Internet Society of China is working for international acceptance of a restrictive text containing norms for cyberspace content.
WPFC and the conference co-sponsors will invite experts on China’s surveillance and censorship to report their findings to this conference, and to invite a representative of the Internet Society of China to present its views and to be exposed to those of others opposed to restrictions to press freedom on the Internet.
The conference planners intend to show how American software companies have cooperated with China as its government tracks down journalists who report on such issues as democracy and lack of press freedom and free speech.
WPFC will also invite experts on China’s news censorship methods and surveillance techniques that have led to numerous journalists being jailed.
Simultaneous interpretation will be provided in English, French and Chinese.
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