Media's visit to Tibet curbed

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The Independent Online
MRS ROBINSON'S visit to Tibethas raised controversy over media coverage of the trip, with China and the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights being accused of trying to manipulate the event.

The Irish Times, morning newspaper in Dublin, accused Mrs Robinson yesterday of "stage-managing the coverage ... by picking and choosing the journalists she will allow to report it".

Last week, the Chinese Foreign Ministry (MFA) told Conor O'Clery, The Irish Times Peking correspondent, that he and Charlie Bird, the Dublin- based Radio Telefis Eireann (RTE) television correspondent, were the only journalists who could go.

Two days later, the MFA told Mr O'Clery he could not go. The Irish Times said this was because of a "direct intervention" by the UN High Commissioner in Geneva.

Mrs Robinson's spokesman said "it would send the wrong message" if she were to be accompanied only by Irish media. The Irish Times protested. Mrs Robinson replied that Mr O'Clery could go with a non-Irish reporter. The MFA said that time was too short. Mr Bird and his cameraman will be the only foreign media there.