Nieman Pulls Plug on Controversial China Progam

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(AP) The Nieman Foundation at Harvard University is ending its affiliation with a program designed to train Chinese officials managing the media at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Bob Giles, curator of the foundation, decided to end the partnership after Nieman alumni raised concerns last weekend about the Chinese government’s history of media oppression.

The foundation agreed to be a co-sponsor of the program as part of its educational mission of raising journalistic standards but “it was necessary to act to protect our good name,” Giles said in a statement.

The program may continue with the help of Ezra F. Vogel, the former director of Harvard’s Fairbank Center for East Asian Research and the Asia Center. The program’s aim is to develop press freedom in China, Vogel said in a statement.

The program is “an opportunity for Westerners to provide the Chinese with an understanding of the values underlying journalism in the U.S. and how the press operates freely in our society,” he said.

The Nieman Foundation is known for its mid-career fellowships for journalists to attend Harvard University.

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