A senior official with the International Olympic Committee is apologizing to
foreign reporters in Beijing for misleading them into thinking they would have
totally unrestricted Internet access during the Olympics. Stephanie Ho reports
from the Chinese capital.
International Olympic Committee's media head, Kevan Gosper, says he was not
previously aware of an understanding between Chinese officials and senior IOC
executives, that access to some Internet sites will continue to be blocked by
On Thursday, he apologized to journalists in Beijing for giving
the impression that Internet access during the Olympics would be completely
"I am concerned that the international media, who we rely
on for reporting the games, has been caught by surprise. That, for me, is
unacceptable," Gosper said.
Another IOC member, Australian Olympic chief
John Coates, also expressed measured criticism.
"As I've said before, I
was upset when I heard about it yesterday," Coates said. "I think it's a great
pity, but if that's how it's going to be, so be it."
Olympic Organizing Committee spokesman Sun Weide says journalists will have what
he called "sufficient and convenient" Internet access.
Sun told reporters
Chinese authorities will - with the exception of websites the Chinese deem
illegal - provide full access to the Internet to facilitate their reporting
during the Olympic games.
He says the Internet will continue to be
regulated according to Chinese law, which forbids anyone to spread illegal
information on groups such as Falun Gong or to use the Internet to harm national
interests - not exactly the "free access" some reporters expected.