Senegal: CPJ welcomes IOC's mechanism on press freedom violations

Dakar, Senegal (PANA) – The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has welcomed the creation of a press freedom complaints mechanism by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) which will enable journalists covering the organization and its Olympic Games to report a violation of their press freedom.

In a statement made available to PANA in Dakar, CPJ said thousands of journalists have converged on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the opening of the 2016 Olympic Games on Friday.

The IOC plans to use the reporting mechanism - which is available to all journalists, freelance or staff, accredited or unaccredited - to convey verified complaints to the relevant authorities for resolution and it is accessible in English and French.

"Journalists are integral to the success of all international sporting events, and the IOC charter affirms that the IOC must take 'all necessary steps to ensure the fullest coverage' of the games," remarked CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon.

"The mechanism is consistent with this obligation, and we urge journalists to use it to its fullest advantage."

According to the statement, the creation of the reporting mechanism follows years of advocacy with the IOC by CPJ and other rights groups to do more to hold host governments accountable for press-freedom abuses that have limited coverage of sensitive issues around the Olympic Games.

CPJ said it had documented press freedom violations around several Olympic Games.

Prior to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, the press freedom watchdog released a report "Media Suffer Winter Chill in Coverage of Sochi Olympics", describing a pattern of obstruction, intimidation, and harassment that limited coverage of sensitive issues such as labour abuses and environmental damage.

Also in 2008, CPJ documented how China maintained internet censorship and monitored and restricted international as well as domestic media during the Beijing Olympics, concerns that remain as the city prepares to host the 2022 Games.

The statement disclosed that CPJ met with IOC President Thomas Bach several times to urge the creation of a formal mechanism for responding to complaints from journalists covering the Games.

It said CPJ would assess and provide feedback to the IOC following the 2016 Rio Games while stressing that in addition to using the IOC's mechanism, CPJ encourages journalists to report violations to report_violation@cpj.org.

''Bach in 2014 pledged to reform the Olympic movement through the 2020 Olympic Agenda, though human rights groups have remain critical of the IOC's human rights record,'' the statement concluded.
-0- PANA MLJ/VAO 5Aug2016

05 august 2016 13:14:12




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