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China defends its plan to create databases on foreign journalists



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Chinese officials have defended their intention to collect information on journalists visiting the country to cover next year’s Beijing Olympics. The authorities claimed such databases would be used to help the media at Beijing 2008, not to create blacklists or hinder reporting.

The comments came after the state-run China Daily said last week that authorities were building a database on about 30,000 foreign journalists accredited to cover next year’s Olympics.

China, whose own media is strictly controlled, had previously promised greater freedoms for foreign journalists to report on the Games, and as of January 1 eased rules governing their ability to report outside major cities.

Earlier this month, Yahoo was severely criticized in the U.S. Congress for giving Chinese authorities the email addresses of Chinese journalists and bloggers who were then sentenced to 10 years in prison for mentioning the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen square massacre. See this report from AlJazeeraEnglish (which incidentally is much fairer than AlJazeeraArabic, and less anti-western than organizations like BBC and CNN).


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