China gives foreign journalists more freedom

October 18th, 2008 - 5:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Oct 18 (Xinhua) China has issued new rules on reporting activities by foreign correspondents on its territory, allowing them to interview without application to foreign affairs departments. “The new rules follow the major principles and spirits of the media regulations introduced for the Beijing Olympics,” foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said at a late night press conference Friday.

The conference began 15 minutes before the expiry of the temporary Olympic rules, which were introduced on Jan 1, 2007 and removed media restrictions on foreign reporters during the Beijing Games.

“In the form of a long-lasting law, the 23-item new rules make that temporary arrangement a standard practice,” Liu said.

“The new regulations are significantly different from those issued in 1990,” spokesman said.

Foreign reporters wishing to interview organizations or individuals in China no longer need to be received and accompanied by the Chinese organizations, Liu said.

It removed a requirement in the old version that asked foreign reporters to get approval from the local government’s foreign affairs department when they wanted to cover in the regions open to them.

The new rules also lifted an item asking them to get approval from the foreign ministry when they wanted to visit the regions not open to them and register at the police station.

“Foreign reporters still need to ask for permission to do reporting in Tibet and other areas that are off-limits to foreign reporters, like some military facilities,” Liu said.

According to the new rules, permanent offices of foreign media and reporters can “temporarily” import, install and use radio communication devices for news reporting after gaining approvals from the Chinese government according to laws.

“China adopts a basic policy of opening up to the outside world, protects the lawful rights and interests of the permanent offices of foreign media organisations and foreign journalists in accordance with law, and facilitates their news coverage and reporting activities that are carried out according to law,” the new rules said.

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