Winter Olympics: TV reporter dragged away live on air by Chinese security officials speaks out

Sjoerd den Daas said officials could not tell him what he had done wrong

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Tuesday 08 February 2022 03:38 GMT
Dutch TV reporter dragged away by Chinese official during live broadcast

The DutchTV reporter who was dragged away by Chinese security officials live on air says he had been following Beijing police instructions at the time of the incident.

Sjoerd den Daas, a correspondent in China for Dutch national broadcaster NOS, was manhandled as he spoke on camera outside the Bird’s News stadium.

The official, who was wearing a red arm band, grabbed the journalist as he told the anchor back in the Netherlands, “I fear we will have to come back to you later.”

Now he has explained his side of the story on Twitter and insisted he will continue covering the Games for his employer.

“Shortly before 7 o’clock, we began filming around the Bird’s Nest. The police kindly directed us outside the area that was being cordoned off around that time. We followed their orders. We then spent some time setting up to film a TV live at the place the police had just referred us to,” he tweeted.

“However, just after we had gone live, I was forcefully pulled out of the picture without any warning by a plainclothes man wearing a red badge that read, “Public Safety Volunteer.” He did not identify himself.

“At the same time, another man took our light installation. When asked, they couldn’t say what we had done wrong.”

And he added: “We were able to continue our TV live from a parking lot around the corner.

“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.”

The International Olympic Committee later claimed that the incident had been an “isolated event.”

But Mr den Daas said that it was “hard to see last night’s incident as an isolated incident, as the IOC claims, although such interference rarely happens live on broadcast.”

“Obviously, we have been in touch with the NOS, the state broadcaster, and it was an unfortunate circumstance,’ said IOC spokesperson Mark Adams.

“I think someone was being overzealous. He was able to, very quickly afterwards with the help of officials there, do his piece to camera.

“These things do happen and I think it’s a one-off. I hope it’s a one-off and we will assure you that within the closed loop you will be able to carry on your work.”

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