Posts Tagged 'Olympics'

Beijing to Drop Broadcast Delay

photo by Thomas Tribe

SEOUL – BEIJING’S CCTV WILL DROP its normal 30-second broadcast delay on channels covering the Olympic games, according to the official Xinhua News Agency, allowing viewers to see the events in real-time (via Reuters):

China Central Television (CCTV) has always built a 30-second delay into the transmission of live programs to ensure they aired “smoothly and safely,” the report said.

The time lag also gives the government-controlled broadcaster a brief window to stop images of protests or content critical of officials from reaching ordinary viewers.

Broadcasters in the U.S. have occasionally delayed footage in a similar way — especially after the Janet Jackson incident at the superbowl in 2004 — although it could be argued that the practice is largely employed Stateside to protect media from litigation-happy viewers. CCTV’s use of of the delay is more insidious on a couple levels, as it functions mainly to keep citizens in the dark by (sometimes literally) blacking out events and because the broadcaster controls a total of 17 channels.

Despite promising press freedom during the games, Beijing is keeping a close watch over foreign journalists, especially if they don’t procure the proper visa. From a recent NYT blog post:

Less clear is the fate of thousands of freelancers and reporters for local papers, smaller news outlets and niche publications. One freelancer in the U.S. told [the Committee to Protect Journalists] that, having heard of the problems getting a journalist’s visa, she tried to enter the country as a tourist, only to be told that she would have to sign a pledge promising not to write a magazine article about her experiences. Apparently, Chinese immigration agents have learned the power of Google.

This raises questions about the rights of foreign bloggers in the country as well, as there is little doubt that the local government will be keeping a close eye on the Internet; dozens of postings on riots in southwest China last month were apparently blocked by local censors.

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China’s Media Ignores Relay Protests

THOUGH IT’S PLASTERED ACROSS broadsheets all over the world, news of the besieged Olympic torch relay is apparently not reaching many in China. According to the Asia Sentinel, Beijing is so far not making good on its promise of unfetterred Olympics coverage — perhaps that only applied to sports?

“Warm reception in cold London,” read the April 7 headline in China Daily, the country’s largest English language newspaper. Warm? Well, yes, in fact it was almost explosive if you read accounts from western newspapers and watched (erratically blacked out by panicked Chinese censors) CNN and BBC-World television accounts via mainland cable and satellite that detailed the hundreds of protestors who disrupted and twice almost extinguished the “sacred flame” as State news agency Xinhua continually refers to the torch.

It wasn’t until the ninth paragraph that China Daily hinted that the “Olympic fever gripping snowy London” was nearly fatal to Beijing’s best laid plans. And even then only 25 protesters were said to have been arrested – compared to 35 or 36 arrests and descriptions of hundreds along the 30-mile route in western press accounts […]

What sticks out most sorely in all of this is that, through its continued oppression of dissenting voices in journalism, China is proving all the protesters right; the country’s economy may have boomed, but in fundamental ways the system hasn’t changed.

As criticism from overseas gets noisier, some are worried about the emergence of familiar nationalist rhetoric in the Middle Kingdom — and what it may mean for the future of foreign relations.

China and the Good Ol’ Boy Olympics

WITH THE OPENING CEREMONIES in Beijing drawing ever closer, I have increasingly struggled with whether China deserves the all the flak it’s getting. Especially as a resident of a nation that has a rather shameful track record as of late, I wonder, “Who are we to point a finger?” Beijing has continually fallen back on just that idea, using it to rail against environmental restrictions, political pressures regarding Burma and Darfur, and the politicization of its beloved Olympic games.

Part of me just wants to give it to them. I mean, they have come a pretty long way, right? But then shit like this happens, and like a flood it occurs to me that behind Beijing’s weakening excuses are mountains of injustice – from an editorial in the South China Morning Post, via China Digital Times:

Can the propaganda masters in Beijing get a grip on their horses and stop the kind of silly stunts like the one being conducted in Shanghai? Shanghai’s Xinmin Evening News reported last week that the government was looking for 40 young women between the ages of 18 and 24 and 168cm to 178cm tall to help present medals at the Games. According to the report, they must meet at least 15 requirements including such physical attributes as bones in every part of the body being well proportioned and symmetrical, muscles elastic enough to display a healthy, beautiful body – full-figured, not fat and cumbersome, and so on.

While the officials’ intention is to show the world the utmost attention they pay to every salient detail of the Games, this has come off as incredibly sexist and offensive to many people, including this writer. For heaven’s sake, you are looking for young women to present the medals and they should not be treated to a process as strict as that used by emperors to choose their wives.

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