Uncensored Internet and no TV delay in Beijing: IOC

BEIJING (Reuters) - Media will have access to uncensored Internet and there will be no delay of the television signal at the Beijing Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Thursday.

Hein Verbruggen, Chairman of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordination Commission, puts on his headphones during a news conference in Beijing October 25, 2007. REUTERS/David Gray

China routinely censors the Internet and delays or censors television signals but the IOC’s chief inspector said Beijing organizers had assured his team that the 30,000 media expected to cover the August 8-24 Games would not be effected.

“We were satisfied by the assurances we received across a number of areas -- media service levels, including Internet access ... and the live broadcast feed,” Hein Verbruggen told a news conference at the end of the final inspection of preparations for the Games.

The IOC’s press chief Kevan Gosper said earlier this week that he would be insisting on an “open” Internet in line with Beijing’s commitment to allow media to report on the Games in the same way they had at past Olympics.

IOC officials said they had been given to understand that access to the “open” Internet would apply not only to those accredited media in the main media centers and venues, but also in the centre for non-accredited media.

Verbruggen said the television signal would be controlled by the Beijing Olympic Broadcasters and, despite a report last week, there had “never been any discussion” of it not being live.

“There will be a live feed and it is up to every broadcaster to do with it what they want to do,” he said.

He also said television cameras would be allowed to film on Beijing’s central Tiananmen Square.

Overall, Verbruggen said, his team had been impressed with preparations for the Games.

“BOCOG is progressing well with all of its operations and we are confident that our Chinese friends will put on a great Games for the athletes of the world,” he added.

“The IOC noted an increased level of support from the government authorities for the organizing committee, which will undoubtedly help reinforce BOCOG’s excellent work.”

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

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