08.05.08 Olympic Athletes Worldwide Download, 'Songs For Tibet' - Wearing an iPOD in Beijing a symbol of freedom of expression...


Album from Sting, Alanis Morissette, Moby, Dave Matthews, John Mayer, Imogen Heap & More made available as a free download to all Olympic athletes...

PRESS CONFERENCE, NEW YORK, AUGUST 7, 2008

Washington DC, (August 5, 2008) - The Art of Peace Foundation announced today that tracks from their upcoming album, "Songs for Tibet - The Art of Peace" have been available as a free download to Olympic athletes worldwide. "First and foremost, we hope the athletes are inspired by the music, but the initiative also draws attention to the lack of fundamental freedoms for those under Chinese rule, including Tibetans," said Michael Wohl, Executive Director of the Art of Peace Foundation.

Beijing was awarded the Olympics based on assurances that they would adopt fundamental norms and values of the international community, including unfettered media access and improved human rights conditions for its citizens. Since neither of these have occured, Beijing is in non-compliance with their agreement for holding the Olympics. Nonetheless, athletes at Olympic venues, including the Olympic Village, could in theory be forced out of the Olympics and have their medals revoked for expressing dissatisfaction with this non-compliance and criticism about China's treatment of Tibet.

Wearing an iPod, a simple yet powerful symbol of personal freedom, provides Olympic athletes with an acceptable way to make a statement about the repressive atmosphere of the Games and express support for free expression. "We began contacting athletes as soon as the album was done. We knew once the athletes were in Beijing, 'The Great Firewall of China' might prevent accessibility to downloads." The Great Firewall is the massive Chinese internet monitoring and censorship system.

"We support the Olympics, the athletes and the accomplishments of the Chinese citizens in hosting the Olympics," added Wohl. "If Olympic athletes cannot speak their conscience, however, the Chinese government is treating Olympic athletes like modern day gladiators to be used for sport and entertainment. This is against everything the Olympics stand for. One can't support the Olympics while denying athletes their fundamental freedom of speaking the truth."

Mary Beth Markey, Vice President for Advocacy of the International Campaign for Tibet added: "This initiative is a wonderful statement about freedom of expression, and a reminder to those in Beijing for the Games to remember the crisis in Tibet."

Olympic Athletes wishing to download the album can do so by contacting AOPC@ArtOfPeaceFoundation.org.

A video for the project by Mark Pellington entitled, "Songs for Tibet - Freedom is Expression" will be on YouTube, and is available for websites and broadcast use.

Beginning August 5th, the week of the opening of the Olympics, 'Songs for Tibet - The Art of Peace,' will be available worldwide exclusively through iTunes. On August 12th, it will be available through all retail channels worldwide, including Amazon.

PRESS CONFERENCE concerning the project will take place at 11am EST August 7th at the Jacobson Howard Gallery 33 East 68th Street, NY, NY 10065.
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