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RSF target of attacks in press, Internet

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders is shocked by a press campaign being waged against the press freedom organisation in the Chinese media, particularly those closely linked to the government. This comes at a time when the organisation's website is also coming under an unprecedented level of cyber-strikes.

The official Chinese press, based on false and distorted statements, accuses the organisation of seeking to destabilise the Olympic Games on behalf of the CIA or US neo-conservatives, accusing the organisation's activists of being "trouble-makers" and "racists".

The websites http://www.sohu.com and http://www.sina.com have relayed these attacks, sometimes on their front page. Leading the condemnation of Reporters Without Borders has been the nationalist daily "Huan Qiu Shi Bao" (Global Times) which is run by the international section of the official "People's Daily". It has published long libellous articles about the organisation.

In one such article on 24 April 2008, the paper, which is also running virulent campaigns against France and the Dalai Lama, accused the "French organisation RSF of sabotaging the games for financial purposes".

The website of Xinhua.net ( http://www.Xinhua.net ), the official Chinese news agency, has also relayed these accusations.

At the same time, the Reporters Without website has been the victim of unprecedented cyber-strikes. Hackers have several times threatened to bring down the site. "We advise recent visitors to the website http://www.rsf.org to activate their computers' anti-virus software as a precaution", the organisation said.

"These vicious and dishonest attacks are all the easier since Reporters Without Borders' output is never published in the Chinese press and the organisation's website is blocked," it said.

"This campaign is aimed solely at punishing our peaceful protests during the Olympic torch relay", it said. "The attacks, orchestrated by the official media, do nothing to respond to the concerns of international public opinion, shocked by the crackdown in Tibet and against human rights activists in China."

"The authorities should, instead of showing such aggression, release prisoners of opinion and allow the foreign press to go to Tibet", concluded the organisation which has campaigned in connection with the Beijing Olympics since 2001.

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