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British journalist roughed up, briefly detained, questioned by security officers, after filming pro-Tibet protest near Beijing

(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is an IFJ media release:

IFJ Condemns Chinese Security for Roughing Up Journalist Filming Protestors

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned Chinese security guards for an attack on a British journalist who was detained and roughed up after filming pro-Tibetan protests.

"While the Chinese government has promised that foreign journalists can work freely during the Beijing Games, they have repeatedly set up obstacles for media workers and in some cases security officers have acted violently to stop reporters from doing their work," said IFJ Deputy General Secretary Paco Audije. "The government must live up to its promise and ensure that these attacks stop immediately."

Earlier today, John Ray, a British journalist working for Independent Television News (ITN) was roughed up by security officers after he and two colleagues filmed protestors who brought a banner that said "Free Tibet" inside the Chinese Ethnic Culture Park, which is close to the Bird Nest in Beijing.

As Ray filmed the protestors, security officers physically restrained him and dragged him into a nearby restaurant, despite the fact that he and Chinese colleagues clearly identified themselves as members of the press.

Inside the restaurant, Ray was forced onto a sofa and when he tried to get away he was knocked down by an officer. He was interrogated for about half an hour and then released.

Last week two Japanese journalists were beaten by police while trying to report on the aftermath of another bomb attack in north-west China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region that killed 16 police officers. Other journalists reported that police confiscated or forced journalists to delete film footage and photographs. A few days later, journalists were also detained after trying to cover the aftermath of another set of bombing attacks in the region.

The IFJ said these practices are a breach of the letter and spirit of China's reporting regulations issued in 2007 that allow journalists from all countries to report freely, including taking photos freely, without any interference.

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide.

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