ZDF

Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games regrets interruption of simulcast on ZDF German Television

    Mainz (ots) - The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) has responded to the interruption of a simulcast on ZDF German Television last week. At the last meeting of the world broadcasters before the start of the Olympic Games, Beijing's deputy major, Cai Fuchao, and Sun Weijia, Director of the BOCOG Media Operations Department, expressed their regret about the intervention of security forces. In front of international representatives of rights holders both of them promised, such an incident would not occur again. It was said that BOCOG's president Liu Qi, who is also Party secretary of Beijing, yesterday expressed his regrets, too. ZDF has not received an official written apology yet.

    Beforehand in letters to both BOCOG and the Chinese Foreign Office ZDF's Editor in Chief, Nikolaus Brender, had entered a strong protest. "We are worried about the rising number of interferences of the free press by Chinese security forces", Brender said today. "We take note of BOCOG's step. At the same time we consider this promise binding on all responsible security authorities and their personnel."

    ZDF's correspondent in Beijing, Johannes Hano, is speaking of a promising signal: "We have never seen such a step in the past. We hope the Chinese authorities keep their promise to guarantee full freedom of press for the Olympics."

    In the morning of July 3rd 2008 Chinese security forces massively disrupted an authorized simulcast from the Great Wall, which then had to be discontinued. Security personnel in uniform and plain clothes were holding their hands in front of the camera and insisted on stopping the live program. As an explanation they referred to the interview with an American historian, which was part of the program. This came although ZDF had registered all participants and received all necessary authorizing documents.

    After a complaint to the Foreign Office by ZDF's bureau in Beijing all following simulcasts on that morning succeeded without any interference. This incident had a wide international echo. The disruption of a live program stands in sharp contradiction to the Chinese government's promise to guarantee the freedom of press for the Olympics.

    Mainz, July 9th, 2008 ZDF Pressestelle

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