20,000 Privileges: will this be an Olympic record for the wrong reasons?

China eases Internet restrictions for foreign journalists

By Andrew Jacobs, Published: August 1, 2008



Jacobs, of the International Herald Tribune, reports on the issue of access to the internet during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. It seems that the IOC were caught sleeping when the Chinese did not open access to the Internet. Pressure from various parties including journalists means that now the 20,000 journalists have the desired access to the internet.

But as T. Kumar, Asia advocacy director for Amnesty International, says in the article: "We urge the International Olympic Committee to exert pressure on China so that those attending the Games - and ordinary Chinese citizens - can enjoy freedom of expression and movement," he said.


Everyone could have told the IOC that China would not open access to the internet without a fuss or a push. And as Kumar says, what about Chinese citizens? Maybe the word "naive" has taken a new meaning.

But the issue goes beyond that, in my opinion, what have 20,000 people got that 1.3 billion haven't? Or to put it in a different way, why privilege 20,000 journalists and disadvantage 1.3 billion people?

The issue why privilege only journalists, begs the question: what have journalists got that other people interested in writing about society and events around them haven't got? The more people have access to information, the more we have to ask: why privilege journalists?

Maybe the time has come for journalists to specialise in bringing stories that people in power or authority want to hide from us. Or maybe specialise in communicating otherwise complex information in an easy and efficient manner. However, giving access to raw information only to journalists will sooner or later begin to look suspicious.

Bottom Line

Journalists shouldn't put themselves in a position where we might think they are being manipulated. Or worse, in concert with those who intend to manipulate people. By the end of the Olympics we would know whether 20,000 journalists were wittingly or unwittingly victims of manipulation or whether 20,000 journalists just enjoyed a good freebie. I have no problems with journalists enjoying a freebie. I hope they only got a freebie and not something more questionable.

Tags: communication, journalists, Olympics, china, information

1 comment:

Don said...


May I suggest a link related to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games?

Our site:

URL: http://www.2008chinaolympics.com
Title: Beijing Olympics

Please let me know if you want a link back.
Many thanks for your reply.

Best Regards,