China pledges to protect foreign media

China's President Hu Jintao

Hu also said in an opening speech to a meeting of global media leaders that news organisations had an obligation to help keep peace in the world.

"We will continue to make government affairs public, enhance information distribution, safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of foreign news organisations and reporters, and facilitate foreign media coverage of China in accordance with China's laws and regulations," Hu told the World Media Summit at the Great Hall of the People.

News coverage of China has expanded dramatically in recent years amid rising global interest in its economic boom and Beijing's larger role in global affairs. But while the communist government has loosened controls on reporters, it still tries to contain coverage of human rights and other sensitive topics. Reporters complain they are regularly detained and sometimes have been assaulted.

The meeting, which has drawn 300 representatives from more than 170 media outlets from 80 countries, will look at the challenges and opportunities the media face from the Internet, technology changes and the world economic crisis.

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