China: Journalist interrupted by authorities during live report on Beijing Olympics

A Dutch reporter was interrupted by Chinese security officials while reporting live on the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) expresses concern over the incident and urges the Beijing and Olympic authorities to ensure journalists’ right to reporting.

Dutch reporter, Sjoerd den Dass, is dragged off camera by security officials. Credit: NOS / Twitter

On February 4, Sjoerd den Daas, a reporter of the Dutch public broadcaster, Nederlandse Omroep Stichting (NOS), was forcefully dragged off-camera by several security officials in the middle of a live broadcast of the Games’ opening ceremony in Beijing.

Another security officer attempted to block the camera using his hand, as the reporter continued speaking to it, leaving the broadcaster later halting the link with the reporter.

In a series of tweets, den Daas said he was “forcefully pulled out of the picture without any warning” shortly after he had gone live, and that “when asked, they couldn't say what we had done wrong.”

“In recent weeks, we, like several foreign colleagues, have been hindered or stopped several times by the police while reporting on subjects related to the Games,” he added.

On February 5, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said the incident was “unfortunate” but was an isolated case.

“These things do happen and I think it's a one-off. I hope it's a one-off and we will assure you that within the closed loop you will be able to carry on your work," IOC spokesman Mark Adams said, referring to the Games’ venues and media centre, as well as personnel accommodation.

The spokesman said the Dutch journalist had been able to continue his reporting shortly after the interruption with the help of officials and that the IOC had been in touch with NOS.

However, NOS said there had been no contact with the IOC, according to Reuters.

The IFJ said: “Already there has been a case of authorities attempting to interrupt foreign journalists from reporting at the start of the three-week event. The IFJ expresses concern and urges the Beijing Organising Committee and IOC to ensure the fullest coverage by different media outlets from across the world for the Olympic Games in accordance with the Olympic Charter.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on ifj@ifj-asia.org

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

Twitter: @ifjasiapacific, on Facebook: IFJAsiaPacific and Instagram