A television reporter had his live on-air standup interrupted by a Chinese security guard’s physical confrontation outside the Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing yesterday.
Dutch reporter Sjoerd den Daas was reporting for broadcaster NOS on the opening of the 2022 Beijing Olympics when a guard in a black coat and red armband that read “Security Volunteer” forcibly stopped the live interview.
“Our correspondent @sjoerddendaas was pulled away from the camera by security guards at 12:00 pm (3 am PT) live in the NOS Journal. Unfortunately, this is increasingly becoming a daily reality for journalists in China. He is fine and was able to finish his story a few minutes later,” the station said in a tweet, according to translation.
Onze correspondent @sjoerddendaas werd om 12.00u live in het NOS Journaal door beveiligers voor de camera weggetrokken. Helaas is dit steeds vaker de dagelijkse realiteit voor journalisten in China. Hij is in orde en kon zijn verhaal gelukkig een paar minuten later afmaken pic.twitter.com/GLTZRlZV96
— NOS (@NOS) February 4, 2022
The guard did not identify himself, according to den Daas, who detailed his experience in a series of tweets.
“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,” den Daas tweeted.
“Therefore, it’s hard to see last night’s incident as an isolated incident, as the IOC claims, although such interference rarely happens live on broadcast. And now back to work.”
Thanks to all who have been following the incident last night during the Beijing Olympic Opening Ceremony. I wanted to clarify some facts about what happened. https://t.co/nzk2p0DKhl
— Sjoerd den Daas (@sjoerddendaas) February 5, 2022
Marcel Gelauff, editor-in-chief for NOS, called the incident “a painful illustration” of the state of press freedom in China in an interview with Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad.
“Sjoerd has often told and shown that it is difficult as a journalist in China. There is a far-reaching tendency to restrict freedoms and this may be even stronger because of corona,” Gelauff told the paper.
The Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent non-profit organization that promotes press freedom worldwide, expressed concern about international reporters covering the Beijing Games last month.
“China has been the world’s worst jailer of journalists for three years running,” the organization wrote in a post on its website on January 11. “Domestic journalists in mainland China face increasing censorship and control while the international media are operating in a hostile environment.”
The Games have been under particular scrutiny with four countries, including Canada and the United States, diplomatically boycotting these Olympics.
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau cited the Chinese government’s repeated human rights violations as the reason for the boycott, saying it was important for Canada to “align with its allies.”