European broadcasters condemn China Nobel 'media blackout'

3rd December 2010, Comments 0 comments

European broadcasters said Friday Beijing was preventing its media from covering the ceremony for the Nobel Peace Prize, awarded to a Chinese dissident, and condemned control of journalists in China.

"Chinese authorities have advised their official representatives and the media to refrain from attending or covering next week's Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in Oslo," the European Broadcasting Union said.

The EBU "strongly condemns political attempts to control free and independent journalism," it said in a statement.

"We urge the Chinese authorities to remove all obstacles preventing national and international media from pursuing their work and to immediately release all journalists who have been deprived of their freedom," it added.

China said on Thursday that it was difficult to maintain "friendly relations" with Norway following the Oslo-based Nobel committee's decision to award the 2010 Peace Prize to a Chinese dissident, Liu Xiabo.

The EBU groups 75 state and private broadcasters from 56 European countries.

Its general assembly expressed "immense concern" about the "imminent dangers" of information being withheld from the public, depriving it of an "enlightened understanding of the current affairs of its nation and... a globalised world."

The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded in October to Liu, who was jailed in December 2009 for 11 years on subversion charges after co-authoring Charter 08, a petition calling for democratic reform in one-party China.

Beijing was furious over the decision, saying it was tantamount to encouraging crime.

Neither the jailed writer nor members of his family are expected to attend the award ceremony in the Norwegian capital next week. His wife, Liu Xia, is under house arrest.

© 2010 AFP

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