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Oklahoma Voices:
Press Freedom in China and the United States (Aug 03, 2008)

With the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics set to begin on Friday, the world’s spotlight is directed at China. In recent months, the nation has faced increased, international scrutiny for its poor human rights record and historically lax environmental regulations, but perhaps the loudest criticism has been reserved for China’s tight control of information on the web and in the press. Just last week, the country backtracked from its earlier promise to allow journalists covering the games unfettered access to the internet, and that freedom has never been granted to China’s own citizens. But Orville Schell says that to fully understand what’s going on, you need examine the different roles the media play in a democracy versus in a Communist state. Schell is Director of the Asia Society Center on US-China Relations and Former Dean of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. We listen back to a speech he gave to journalism students at the University of Oklahoma last February on the topic of press freedom and censorship in China and the United States, as well as coverage of the war in Iraq.

The journalist advocacy organization Reporters Without Borders has launched an advertising campaign aimed at various regimes, including China, it considers hostile to press freedom. We’ve posted a picture of one of the ads above, but click here to see a larger version.

Read updates on the status of Chinese press freedom leading up to the Beijing Games

Update: As of Friday, Reporters Without Borders reports some of the restrictions appear to have been lifted for foreign journalists in select areas

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