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Did press freedom in China improve during the year of the Olympic Games, or did China renege on its promises? The Asia-Pacific branch of the International Federation of Journalists' (IFJ) looks at the restrictions slammed on foreign and domestic journalists in 2008 and their findings are pretty ugly.

Foreign journalists were banned from travelling, were harassed and detained by local officials, had their materials deleted and confiscated and their sources "snooped" on.

Never mind critical domestic reporters, who were physically kept away from the action by being banned from events, suspended or sacked, or worse, put in jail.

The report, "China's Olympic Challenge: Press Freedom in 2008", is the result of a 12-month press freedom monitoring project with contributions from a wide range of people both inside and outside of the country. Many of the contributors remain anonymous for fear of reprisals - thus highlighting "the reality of media freedom in China," says IFJ.

To read the report, available in English, traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese, see the IFJ Asia-Pacific website at:

(4 March 2009)

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