By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Apr. 3: Joining what is seen as a mounting pressure on China to end Tibet’s isolation of Tibet, The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC) has released a position paper that called on Beijing to give journalists unfettered access to the so called Tibetan Autonomous Region and other Tibetan areas.
The position paper released last week said that their survey showed obstacles faced by journalists reporting in the Tibetan areas including TAR posed “serious impediment” to acquiring accurate information.
It stated, “Unlike other provinces and regions in the country, journalists who seek to report in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) are required to first obtain permission from the government. This permission is rarely granted.” Hence the group said it calls for “unfettered access to the Tibet Autonomous Region and all Tibetan-inhabited regions”.
The press association said that reporters who applied for access to Tibet are almost denied each time resulting in the falling number of reporters who even apply. In 2018, of the FCCC’s survey respondents who applied for reporting assignments in Tibet, none were granted access.
Reporting on ethnic Tibetans are also impeded by intimidation and harassment of sources and constant surveillance of journalists in TAR and other Tibetan areas, FCCC said.
The paper also said that the FCCC is alarmed at the heavy-handed treatment of Tibetan language rights activist Tashi Wangchuk who was sentenced to 5 years in jail last year after he was featured in a New York Times
FCCI’s call for unfettered access to Tibet is bolstered by the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act that was signed into law in December 2018 in the US. Also, 30 legislators in Europe have expressed support for a similar law against China.
Washington based advocacy group International Campaign for Tibet welcomed the move. It’s President Matteo Mecacci said, “For too long, Beijing has exploited the freedoms provided by democratic societies to spread its propaganda around the world even as China hypocritically prevented foreign media, diplomats and tourists from entering Tibet.
“Now, a variety of stakeholders—including media, politicians, diplomats and thousands of Tibetan-Americans—are demanding reciprocity and fairness in bilateral relations.