Tibetan Radio Journalist Files Formal Complaint with International Olympic Committee

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Radio Free Asia (RFA) is sponsored by Congress and banned in Beijing. This makes it hardly surprising that when one of their broadcasters, Dhondup Gonsar — a man of Tibetan descent — tried to pick up his media accreditation he hit a snag.

The station is highly unpopular in certain quarters for its short wave and Internet-based broadcasts that communicate a highly critical perspective on undemocratic Asian states, Beijing and China being frequent targets. Combine this with the fact that Gonsar is not only of Tibetan ancestry, but also broadcasts his show in the Tibetan language and you can see why official impediments are not surprising.

Gonsar’s application has already been approved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), but is being held up by the Beijing organizing committee (Bocog) who have yet to issue his accreditation.

Via The Guardian (UK):

The incident has undermined IOC claims that journalists would have freedom to report during these games. Under Beijing’s Olympic contract with the IOC all accredited persons should be granted access to the country.

[…] Jill Ku Martin, chief correspondent of RFA’s Mandarin service, said today she suspected her colleague had been barred because of his Tibetan nationality. “We can only speculate as to why it is happening but he is of Tibetan descent and broadcasts in the Tibetan language,” she said.

Whether Gonsar’s credentials are issued or not, I have a feeling that commentary on this subject will not be confined to the RFA. China’s uncomfortable relationship with the mass media and transparency is about to get thrown into sharp relief.

Photo courtesy of Tama Leaver, used under its Creative Commons license

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