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Indian and Tibetan Journalists living in Dharamshala, on 03 May 2010 jointly held an informal ceremony for the World Press Freedom Day at Hotel Dhuladhar, Dharamshala, India. Photo: TPI/Sangay Dorjee Dharamshala: As the World Press Freedom Day is celebrated around the globe in line with the United Nations proclamation in 1993, Tibetan journalists in-exile in Dharamshala together with local Indian journalists yesterday called on China to release all journalists jailed in Tibet and allow the international media to visit the region.

President of Association of Tibetan Journalists (ATJ),Tashi Wangchuk said, "We want to appeal to the Chinese government to release all the journalists jailed in Tibet. Last year we made a public statement that we want to go to Tibet and so far there has been no sign of any acceptance of that statement. Nevertheless, we are ready to go to Tibet if the Chinese government permits us. We further request the Chinese authority to allow all the Indian and international journalists to visit Tibet."

Tashi stressed the importance of allowing visits by international media given that there is no media freedom in Tibet. Dorjee, a Tibetan journalist in-exile felt that "since there is lack of media freedom inside Tibet, this day to celebrate press freedom is an appropriate time to again ask the Chinese government to allow free access for international media and Tibetan journalists, and enable them to assess the situation inside Tibet."

Additionally, Yeshe Choesang, Tibet Correspondent for Reporters Without Borders said, "Throughout the region foreign journalists and media workers are banned. However, the selected reporters are not only strictly controlled by officials but also by prospects of social ostracism, imprisonment, detention, and legal persecution. Indeed, not only journalists and writers, but even their defenders - lawyers and human rights advocates - are being arrested and harassed, and almost all websites of exiled groups are prohibited and blocked in Tibet and China."

Yeshe further elaborated, stating that "Since the unrest in Tibet in March 2008, at least 50 Tibetans have been arrested - and in some cases sentenced to long jail terms - for sending reports, photos or videos abroad. Many of them have been sentenced to between 3-15 years. A 54-year-old retired Tibetan doctor, Yeshi Choedon, was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment on charges of leaking secrets -essentially, disclosing information - to the outside world about the peaceful protests in March 2008."

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