Saturday, October 18, 2008

China to maintain foreign press access

China has extended some of the rules that gave foreign reporters greater freedom during the Beijing Olympics.State news agency Xinhua said the temporary arrangement for the games, due to expire on Friday, would become standard practice. It means journalists can continue to conduct interviews without applying to the authorities for permission.The move has been welcomed by the main organisation representing overseas media in China."If properly implemented, we believe this will mark a step forward in the opening of China's media environment," said Jonathan Watts, president of the Foreign Correspondents' Club of China. The club called on the authorities to make sure police and local officials respected the freedoms. Correspondents say the move to extend the more liberal rules has been eagerly awaited and is a sign of China's commitment to allow foreign journalists more freedom to report on a permanent basis.

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