Olympic officials on Saturday said there was "no deal" with the Chinese government to restrict Internet access for foreign journalists covering the Beijing Games.
International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said during a press conference in Beijing that he is "adamant in saying there has been no deal whatsoever to accept restrictions," according to the BBC. In addition, he applauded the organization of the Summer Games, falling short of an apology following widespread public criticism that China had backtracked on assurances that members of the media would not be restricted.
Rogge did not address reports that had surfaced earlier this week that some Olympic officials had been aware of negotiations with the Chinese government. On Wednesday, IOC press chief Kevan Gosper told Reuters that committee members had cut a deal to let the Chinese government block sensitive sites.
"I regret that it now appears BOCOG (Beijing's Olympic organizers) has announced that there will be limitations on Web site access during games time," Gosper had told Reuters. "I also now understand that some IOC officials negotiated with the Chinese that some sensitive sites would be blocked on the basis they were not considered games related."
While China has since unblocked a number of sites, The Associated Press said that, as of Saturday morning, many sites the Chinese government disapproves of continued to be blocked, though the sites that are blocked appear to change daily.
The Chinese government and the IOC are facing ever more international scrutiny, as critics voice concerns that the country could be trying to restrict the gaze of its world audience during the upcoming Olympic Games. Besides the limited Net access, some broadcasters have complained about restricted live television shots of Tiananmen Square.