Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Beijing Bug

My comments today are very similar to a post I wrote back in May on another blog, so I have to say, " I told you so ! " I had made a comment on how free the press would be while covering the Olympics. Not free to report on who won what event, but reporting all the behind the scenes content. The images of daily life there, the people, food, culture, and lifestyle. All the while hoping they would get that one interview where a local would condemn the country or their politics. The one person that would produce monster ratings, and cause a public outcry for justice. In the main press center, sites like Amnesty International, or words with Tibet in the address could not be opened. Chinese officials said the media would have complete freedom to report, and in April, Hein Verbruggen and Kevan Gosper, senior IOC members overseeing the games, said they'd received assurances from Chinese officials that Internet censorship would be lifted for journalists during the games. Did anyone really believe that a country that blocks Internet access to their own citizens, would allow foreign journalists to have unrestricted access ? Broadcasters are now complaining about having permits rescinded, being forced to give notice a month ahead of time about the location of satellite trucks, and facing harassment from bureaucrats and police about getting parking permits for their vehicles. Earlier this month, broadcasters tried again to get Olympic organizers to lift restrictions on live broadcasts from Tienanmen Square. Alex Gilady, a senior IOC member and a senior vice president of NBC Sports, has pushed for more live time from the historic venue, but China is only offering six hours daily, and no interviews. Chinese officials are not stupid, can you picture Geraldo, or Anderson Cooper, or better yet TMZ allowed in Tienanmen Square with a mic and camera ? The scary part about this, is there will be the one reporter that gets a story that China does not want broadcast, and when that happens......................?

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