Sunday, May 3, 2009

ATJ observes World Press Freedom Day in Dharamsala

May 3, 2009, Dharamsala: Association of Tibetan journalists join the voice against suppression of freedom of press on the World Press Freedom Day.

The Association of Tibetan journalists calls on the governments of the world, especially those countries where freedom of press is suppressed, to respect freedom of press and freedom of speech in their countries.

Reports from Tibet and China of Beijing's crackdown on the media clearly show the extent to which a government can go in shutting up journalists who often become the victims of government atrocities.

Association of Tibetan Journalists (ATJ) considers this day significant for those whose voices are muted to serve the governments’ vested interests.

According to the Paris-based World Association of Newspapers (WAN), 673 journalists were arrested, 70 killed and 125 jailed worldwide as of 1st December 2008. China ranked among world's worst countries against press freedom in Freedom House's Report released on May 1.

The Association of Tibetan Journalists, therefore, call on world leaders of respective countries and China in particular, to release all those journalists imprisoned and stop committing crimes against the media.

In the year 2008, Konchok Tsephel, proprietor of Choemey Website; Dhondup Wangchen who made the film "Leaving Fear Behind"; Kunga Tsangyang, a well known writer-photographer; Khawei Tsesok editor Drokru Tsultrim, were arrested in 2008 and their whereabouts are still unknown.

However, ATJ welcomes the recent release from jail of Golok Jigme, arrested for assisting filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen. Rangjung from Seda TV was arrested in September 2008 and released soon after.

We welcome the releases decisions and urge the government of People’s Republic of China to release more Tibetans. ATJ strongly feels the need to examine the situation in Tibet at this stage.

Despite the claims by China that situation in Tibet is normal reports of undeclared martial law and an atmosphere of constant fear gripping the region continue to emerge out.

Tashi Wangchuk, President of ATJ said, "We are ready to visit the Tibetan areas to observe the situation independently and we expressed our willingness to do so. So far, we have received no response from Chinese government." “If the claims made by the Chinese government of Tibetans enjoying the ‘economic boom’ ‘cultural and religious freedom’ in Tibet it should allow independent international media into Tibet," he added.

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