BEIJING (AFP) — The International Olympic Committee on Thursday condemned the roughing up of a British journalist who was trying to cover a pro-Tibet protest close to the main Games' complex.
Uniformed police pounced on John Ray, China correspondent for Independent Television News (ITN) on Wednesday, shortly after protesters unfurled a pro-Tibet banner, witnesses and the reporter said.
IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said the media should be allowed to operate freely in Beijing.
"The IOC does disapprove of any attempts to hinder a journalist who is going about or doing his job seemingly within the rules and regulation," she told reporters when asked about the incident.
"We do not want to see it happening again."
Ray said he was wrestled to the ground and dragged into a nearby restaurant where he was forcibly held down by uniformed and plainclothes officers who also stamped on his hands.
His cameraman Ben England was also manhandled and prevented from filming the protest, Ray said.
Ray said he told the officers in Chinese that he was a journalist during the incident, during which he was also asked for his views on Tibetan independence.
Wang Wei, vice president of the Beijing Olympic Organising Committee, told reporters Thursday he hoped for better understanding between the police and journalists, and said Ray had been released when he showed his accreditation.
China has repeatedly pledged to allow foreign media broad freedoms to do their work during the Games, but it has come under criticism for continuing to stop them from reporting on sensitive issues.
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