[JURIST] Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao [official profile] has signed a decree making permanent certain extensions on press freedom for foreign journalists that were temporarily adopted in the run-up to the July Beijing Olympics. Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao announced late Friday, just before the temporary regulations [text, in English] were scheduled to expire, that henceforward foreign journalists would be able to travel inside the country except Tibet without requiring prior permission from the government and would be free to interview Chinese citizens. The temporary rules were adopted in January 2007. Human Rights Watch and other rights and media groups had lobbied vigorously for their extension [HRW press release]. Foreign Correspondents Club of China (FCCC) president Jonathan Watts welcomed the extension of the rules in a statement [text], but urged the government "to ensure that police and local officials respect the spirit as well as the letter of the new rules. The easing of controls for foreign journalists should not be achieved at the expense of putting more pressure on local sources." The FCCC additionally pressed for further steps, including "the enactment of legislation protecting news sources, the abolition of rules obliging hotels to report to police when a foreign journalist checks in, and the opening of restricted areas...". AP has more.
[JURIST] A Moscow arbitration court Friday overturned most of Russian government's tax claims against the British Council [official website], the British government's cultural relations arm, over the organizations in-country operations in 2004-2006. The claims were made in late 2006 in the midst of strained relations between Russia and the United Kingdom over the demanded extradition of former Andrei Lugovoy [JURIST news archive], suspected by UK intelligence services of poisoning former KGB agent and British citizen Alexander Litvinenko [JURIST news archive; BBC timeline]. Following the filing of the tax claims, the Russian government issued a directive to shut down [BBC report] the 14 Russian regional offices [official website] of the British Council in December 2007. The British Council unilaterally resumed its Russian operations in January 2008 in defiance of what it considered to be the "illegal" [JURIST reports] shutdown order and filed a lawsuit to dispute the taxation claims. BBC News has more. RIA Novosti has local coverage.
Russia has clamped down on foreign associations operating within its territory since a controversial law imposing restrictions on nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) took effect [JURIST report] in April 2006. The law imposes strict financial oversight on NGOs and provides for dissolution if an organization's activities is deemed to "threaten Russia's independence or sovereignty" or if an organization participates in activities deemed to deviate from its mission statement. Then-Russian President Vladimir Putin defended the measure as being necessary to protect against "puppeteers abroad" [JURIST report].
Feedroll provides free Paper Chase news boxes with headlines or digests precisely tailored to your website's look and feel, with content updated every 15 minutes. Customize and get the code.
Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible, ad-free format.