Hot Topic - Beijing Olympics
The Olympic Games in Beijing opens in less than 100 hours. The foreign media contingent is estimated at more than 20,000, roughly double the number of competing athletes. To be sure, not all the reporters and news crews are focused on sports.
As the countdown to the Beijing Olympics ticks louder media watchers, broadcasters and European officials see only no let-up in Chinese authorities’ intention to stage-manage all coverage.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) took a big gamble back in 2001 when it awarded China the 2008 Beijing Olympics. There were legal documents signed and moral commitments given but the bottom line was that everyone believed China in the intervening years would work on improving its human rights and press freedom records and that would be good for the world’s democracy. Now, just a few months before the Games are held, the recriminations begin.
Without doubt within the Middle Kingdom whispers are whirling. Chinese leaders have misjudged the force of images and symbols. It’s odd, and yet not, for a culture whose language is built on both.
Ah, yes, only the young athletes would suffer by a boycott of the Beijing Olympic games. So goes the oft-repeated trance-like meme from many, mostly those with money on the table. More broadcasters voiced a different view this past week.
Human rights groups, press freedom organizations and the like are really putting the screws on China to keep promises made back in 2001 when awarded the Olympic Games, and the Chinese had given an outward appearance of loosening things up a bit, but then came Tibet to prove the sham of it all. The western media also criticized the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of squandering an opportunity via its “quiet diplomacy” to pressure China into the 21st century, but it’s not too late. The IOC President is in China next week and now the two sides really need to get down to the business of business.
The Beijing Olympic Games and China
The Beijing Olympic Games is the most anticipated media event of the 21st century. ftm is following the run-up to the Games, Brand China, Digital China, media business in China and the state of China's media freedom. 30 articles 75 pages PDF (August 2008)
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