29 July 2008

Olympic Press Freedom Still Being Fought

(From Sinotaneous)

Is Leni Riefenstahl somewhere in the building?

Only fools -- i.e. the International Olympic Committee -- bought into China's promises guaranteeing press freedom during the Beijing Games. There was no reason to ever believe that the Chinese government intended to keep its word once it has the hosting rights secured.

Even as of today, about one week before the Games were to commence, internet access to some of the most basic sites such as Wikipedia is still restricted. While the "Great Firewall" might be removed temporarily around the press center and hotels housing the western media, do not expect such measures to be expanded or long-lasting.

As for the event itself, you will not see any highlights that involve anything political, according to the Sydney Morning Herald:

The other problem foreign media will have is that Beijing Olympic Broadcasting Co Ltd (BOB) is responsible on behalf of the Beijing organising committee for releasing footage of all aspects of the Games, except protests.

Depending on their budgets, Olympic rights holders can put their own cameras into venues but most of the world’s media will rely on the footage BOB provides. Asked this year whether BOB would film and immediately release footage of disputes or protests, a senior executive told the Herald that “Beijing Olympic Broadcasting will do its best to avoid it”. “Why would we [film and release protests]?” the executive said. “We are not a news organisation. We’re there to film the event.”

While it's unclear whether China plans on making a sequel to "Olympia," this much we know: At least the foreign press will have some access and freedom. If you're a Chinese citizen watching this glorious event on your TV at home, you're not going to see anything the state doesn't want you to.

From the Chinese-language, Hong Kong-based Ming Pao:

Chinese authorities have ordered a 10-second broadcast delay to avoid “undesirable” incidents - such as protests or anti-Chinese slogans - being seen by the domestic masses.

The Chinese have learned well. They've now taken NBC's "plausibly live" to a whole new level.

1 comment:

chik said...

Old Chinese Proverb: Fool you once, shame on me. Fool you 7, 8, 9 times, you're an idiot.