ITV Special Report Shows Dramatic Footage Filmed Undercover in Tibet

Friday, 18 January 2008

British broadcaster, ITV NEWS, tonight carried a special report containing dramatic pictures filmed undercover from inside Tibet on its prime 6.30pm news programme. ITV had secured the extrememy rare pictures with the help of Free Tibet Campaign.

As footage was shown of fireworks being released into the air, ITV's China correspondent, John Ray, spoke of Tibetans "risking everything for their spiritual leader". Also clear in the footage was the heavy presence of police vehicles.

The footage was complemented by interviews with Tibetan monks, whose identities had been carefully protected. The monks gave eyewitness accounts of how the Chinese authorities immediately clamped down on the firework celebrations to the anger of Tibetans. The monks also revealed that, in the aftermath of the celebrations, local government officials had forced them to denounce the Dalai Lama.

The pictures represent some of the only undercover footage, filmed by a foreign broadcaster, to have come out of Tibet in recent years. Free Tibet Campaign was instrumental in sourcing the material featured in the report. Almost all footage filmed inside Tibet by foreign broadcasters can only be done with official government approval. Government appointed minders ensure that journalists do not film material deemed sensitive or embarrassing by the authorities.

The report also contained an exclusive interview with the Dalai Lama. He was shown watching footage of the firework celebrations, after which he commented that it did not matter if Tibetans forgot about him... what mattered was that Tibetans were showing their feelings without fear and that what was at issue was the basic rights of 6 million Tibetans.

The report was shown whilst Gordon Brown was making his first trip to China as British Prime Minister.

The report can be seen on ITV's website at: http://www.itv.com/news/

The special report will also be broadcast at 11pm UK time, Friday 18th January, om ITV's evening news bulletin.

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For further information please contact Matt Whitticase at matt@freetibet.org
Or call on +44 (0) 207 324 4605/+44 (0)7515 788 456