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SBD/Issue 128/OlympicsPrint All
Sarkozy May Boycott Opening
Ceremony At Beijing Olympics
CENSORSHIP RESPONSE: France Televisions Sports Dir Daniel Bilalian said that his company "could consider a boycott if Chinese government censors the footage." Bilalian: "For the moment, we don't intend to boycott the games." But Bilalian added if the Games are "in any way censored or sanitized by the Chinese authorities ... that would obviously put our position in question" (AP, 3/25). CBC Sports Exec Dir Scott Moore, in response to reports that China will not allow int'l networks to shoot live footage from Tianamen Square during the Olympics, wrote on his blog, "If this is true, it is something we at the CBC, and our colleagues from other networks around the world, need to be very concerned about. And we need to be vocal in our opposition to this and any other proposed restrictions on our ability to tell whatever stories happen during the Games. ... It will be our position that when China agreed to stage the Games, they agreed to allow standard Olympic reporting. They need to live up to that" (CBC.ca, 3/21).
NBC COVERAGE: GE Dir of PR & Marketing Services Deirdre Latour said of NBC accepting censorship by the Chinese government, "That's a question for the IOC." Latour said that GE's role is "merely to fund the Games." Latour: "The role of a sponsor isn't take up cause X, Y and Z, it is to do what we can within our sphere of responsibility" (WASHINGTON POST, 3/26). In a Q&A with BROADCASTING & CABLE's Marisa Guthrie, NBC Olympics Exec Producer David Neal said of negative coverage of China possibly affecting the Games, "Our philosophy of coverage has always been that if something transpires that affects the athletes or affects the competition, then certainly, we will cover it fully. The Olympics is this enormous moving jigsaw puzzle where just when you think you've figured out where all of the pieces go, somebody picks up the box and shakes it." Neal said though the net took just more than 3,000 people to cover the '04 Athens Olympics, NBC is "determined to take fewer to China to take advantage of the evolution of technology and turn around a portion of our programming here at 30 Rock this summer. And a big part of that is trying to reduce the number of people we have to travel halfway around the world. I'm confident that it will take substantially less than 3,000 this summer" (BROADCASTINGCABLE.com, 3/23).
Anti-Chinese Protests Expected During
Olympic Torch's Tour Through S.F. In April
PROMISE RINGS: In DC, Sally Jenkins writes the Beijing Olympics are "shaping up as a disaster." Chinese officials have "violated the basic spirit of the event and reneged on every promise they made to the [IOC] about their willingness to accommodate the world." While the Olympics "aren't supposed to be political," they "aren't supposed to be a force of evil, either." It is "time for the IOC to make the Chinese government live up to its word, and to the Olympic charter and spirit. Otherwise, take the Games away from Beijing" (WASHINGTON POST, 3/26). In DC, Tom Knott writes under the header, "Olympics Won't Alter Chinese." Knott: "You can bet on plenty of self-righteous noise between now and August but no meaningful actions. ... Welcome to the Hypocrisy Games" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 3/26).
OPINION LEADERS: A SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS editorial states, "China needs to live up to its promises. The rest of the world should demand it, and peaceful protests along the torch route are one small way to do that" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 3/26). A TORONTO STAR editorial states, "Even the lighting of the Olympic flame in Greece became an embarrassment for China." This summer's Games, "far from showcasing China's stunning social and economic progress ... are now an exercise in crisis management that China's leadership is flubbing" (TORONTO STAR, 3/26). A WASHINGTON POST editorial is written under the header, "Olympic Shame," and states it looks as though the Games "could become a showcase for violent repression, censorship and political persecution by a regime that has failed to rise above the level of police state. ... It looks increasingly likely that the Olympics will serve to remind the world not of China's emerging greatness but of its continuing denial of freedom to its citizens, its repression of minorities and its amoral alliances with rogue states" (WASHINGTON POST, 3/26).