The ethics of reporting on China’s Olympic games are increasingly muddy. The International Olympic Committee has admitted it is allowing China to censor what foreign journalists can read while in China (in fact, the IOC has no choice). This is contrary to repeated promises by the IOC and China. Chinese censors block reporters at Olympic press centres and hotels in China from reading online media outlets disliked by China (reportedly parts of the Globe and Mail, the BBC, Hong Kong newspapers), as well as sites like Amnesty International, which has a new report criticizing China.
Today’s games can be compared to a corporate launch of a new product —
the Olympics are as much or more about politics and business than about
athletics. China’s Olympic product launch requires worldwide media
coverage to succeed, but in an effort to hoodwink the public, China has blindfolded journalists on the scene to
prevent them from reporting fully on the product being sold to the
Do reporters already in China shut up and simply go along with China’s
plan, reporting on the games as if it’s all about sports? Down the road, do reporters believe
any statements by the IOC — which has yammered on for years about
how giving the games to China will help make the country more open, or has it been discredited?
Usually I’d say that reporters have no business involving ourselves in any story. The exception, I argue, is in cases where repression of the right of free expression defies our very reason for existence.
IOC reneges on promise of Web freedom at Games — the Globe and Mail
From Reuters: The international media should have been told they would not have completely free access to the internet before they arrived to report the Beijing Olympics, IOC press chief Kevan Gosper told Reuters
Defiant China hits out at US, stands firm on Internet — Agence France-Presse
China to Limit Web Access During Olympic Games — the New York Times
Internet censorship is first winner at Beijing games — Reporters Without Borders
Censorship Has No Place at the Olympics — International Federation of Journalsits
The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply disappointed … that China would censor Internet access at the Main Press Center in Beijing despite earlier assurances to the contrary.”
Anyone, even the IOC, who believes Internet censorship is the end of the issue might want to read stories like, “Hong Kong Media Workers Report Police Interference in Beijing”