The limitations in the main press center have fully illustrated how Beijing views freedom of the press and freedom of opinion.
Internet café in China - limited access.
For Deutsche Welle, the Chinese government’s limitations to Internet access in the main press center at the Olympic Games in Beijing “comes as no surprise at all.” Ansgar Burghof, Head of General Management states: “The Chinese officials are currently demonstrating to the collected members of the world press, what Deutsche Welle has seen time and time again over the years: Beijing heavily restricts the flow of information for people in the country.” Because of the increased media presence and the direct dismay from reporters, “it has fully illustrated what the Chinese leaders think about freedom of press and freedom of opinion and how they react to the criticism of this restriction of basic freedoms,” says Burghof.
Deutsche Welle has been affected on multiple occasions: It has been demonstrated that its website – especially in Chinese – has been blocked. The officials in Beijing have also refused Deutsche Welle’s application for a broadcasting license in China. It is now only viewable via partners that broadcast individual programs. “DW-TV is currently available in the official cable network at the Olympic Village and the press center – we are monitoring to what extent this is affected,” says Burghof.
For Internet users in China, Deutsche Welle has created solutions so that at least some of the online content is accessible – like links on other websites, via newsletters and special servers. DW-RADIO is also available vie shortwave.
“As Germany’s international broadcaster, we have a mission to fulfill – despite any hurdles. And that goes for China as well,” says Burghof. “Just like in the past, we will use all possible channels and continue to persevere.”
July 31, 2008