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Belgian TV crew beaten, robbed in China

Belgian TV journalist Tom Van de Weghe.

A Belgian TV journalist and his crew were assaulted while reporting on AIDS in Central China, Reuters has reported. After interviewing several representatives of AIDS groups on Thursday, Belgian journalist Tom Van de Weghe and his production team from Flemish public television VRT were beaten and robbed of cash and equipment by 12 men recruited by authorities in Henan province, a VRT spokesperson told the news agency.

Some details: [Link]

The incident echoes one in the spring in which a crew from U.S. broadcast network CBS' newsmagazine show "60 Minutes" was assaulted when trying to film a plant processing toxic waste near the South China boomtown of Shenzhen.

Starting a year before the Summer Olympics, Beijing promised free access to foreign media reporting in China and recently extended those rules. Even as foreign reporters continue to be blocked from covering news that might challenge the authority of the leading Communist party, AIDS awareness in China may yet spread via the Web.

The VRT incident, publicised Friday by global media watchdog Reporters Without Borders, follows close on the heels of an initiative by Yahoo! China and the United Nations Development Program to provide China's 210 million search engine users with HIV prevention information even if they are not directly searching for it. For instance, Yahoo China's online ad space will ask viewers searching key words such as 'sex,' 'porn' and 'gay,' "Do you know about HIV and HIV Testing?"

Date posted: November 30, 2008 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 339