IOC's Rogge denies Beijing censorship deal

International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge has said there was never any deal with the organisers of the Beijing Olympics to censor internet sites for the legions of foreign reporters.


International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said he had never struck a deal with Beijing organisers to censor Internet sites for foreign reporters.

China faced severe criticism after international media covering the August 8-24 Games discovered a range of websites were barred at the Olympic media centre.

Beijing has since unblocked a number of sites including that of Amnesty International, but many remain inaccessible, bringing more unwanted bad publicity for Games organisers and the Chinese government.

Rogge told a news conference here late Saturday there was "no deal whatsoever to accept restrictions," contrary to reports that said otherwise.

"The conditions you were working in on Tuesday were not good," Rogge told reporters, referring to the media centre's first day when the Internet blocks were discovered.

However, he stopped short of offering an apology.

"I am not going to make an apology for something that the IOC is not responsible for. We are not running the Internet in China," Rogge said.

IOC executive board member Kevan Gosper said earlier Saturday the IOC and BOCOG, the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games, have set up a working group to examine which remaining censored websites can be unblocked.

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