Tim Longhurst's Blog

Entries Tagged as 'Media Mayhem'

Beijing Olympics: 21 edicts from the Chinese Government’s propaganda unit

August 14th, 2008 · 2 Comments

The Sydney Morning Herald has posted an article that purports to list 21 rules for covering the Olympics. Presumably these are written for Chinese journalists, but the article doesn’t actually explain the document, it just publishes it… The items (listed below) provide an insight into the international/domestic stories the Propaganda unit have anticipated in the lead-up to the Olympics.

I’ve added links to google searches for key terms, so you can familliarise yourself with the key themes of Chinese propaganda unit’s preoccupations:

1. The telecast of sports events will be live [but] in case of emergencies, no print is allowed to report on it.

2. From August 1, most of the previously accessible (sic) overseas websites will be unblocked. No coverage is allowed on this development. There’s also no need to use stories published overseas on this matter and [website] operators should not provide any superlinks on their pages.

3. Be careful with religious and ethnic subjects.

4. Don’t make fuss about foreign leaders at the opening ceremony, especially in relation to seat arrangements or their private lives.

5. We have to put special emphasis on ethnic equality. Any perceived racist terms as “black athlete” or “white athlete” is not allowed. During the official telecast, we can refer to Taiwan as “Chinese Taipei”. In ordinary times, refer to Taiwanese athletes as “those from the precious island Taiwan…..” In case of any pro Taiwan-independence related incident inside the venue, you shall follow restrictions listed in item 1.

6. For those ethnic Chinese coaches and athletes who come back to Beijing to compete on behalf of other countries, don’t play up their “patriotism” since that could backfire with their adopted countries.

7. As for the Pro-Tibetan independence and East Turkistan movements, no coverage is allowed. There’s also no need to make fuss about our anti-terrorism efforts.

8. All food saftey issues, such as cancer-causing mineral water, is off-limits.

9. In regard to the three protest parks, no interviews and coverage is allowed.

10. No fuss about the rehearsals on August 2,5. No negative comments about the opening ceremony.

11.No mention of the Lai Changxing case.

12.No mention of those who illegally enter China.

13.On international matters, follow the official line. For instance, follow the official propaganda line on the North Korean nuclear issue; be objective when it comes to the Middle East issue and play it down as much as possible; no fuss about the Darfur question; No fuss about UN reform; be careful with Cuba. If any emergency occurs, please report to the foreign ministry.

14. If anything related to territorial dispute happens, make no fuss about it. Play down the Myanmar issue; play down the Takeshima island dispute.

15. Regarding diplomatic ties between China and certain nations, don’t do interviews on your own and don’t use online stories. Instead, adopt Xinhua stories only. Particularly on the Doha round negotiation, US elections, China-Iran co-operation, China-Aussie co-operation, China-Zimbabwe co-operation, China-Paraguay co-operation.

16.Be very careful with TV ratings, only use domestic body’s figures. Play it down when  rating goes down.

17. In case of an emergency involving foreign tourists, please follow the official line. If there’s no official line, stay away from it.

18. Re possible subway accidents in the capital, please follow the official line.

19.Be positive on security measures.

20. Be very careful with stock market coverage during the Games.

21.Properly handle coverage of the Chinese sports delegation:

A.don’t criticise the selection process

B.don’t overhype gold medals; don’t issue predictions on gold medal numbers; don’t make fuss about  cash rewards for athletes.

C.don’t make a fuss about isolated misconducts by athletes.

D.enforce the publicity of our anti-doping measures.

E. put emphasis on  government efforts to secure the retirement life of atheletes.

F. keep a cool head on the Chinese performance. Be prepared for possible fluctations in the medal race.

G. refrain from publishing opinion pieces at odds with the official propangada line of the Chinese delegation.

Will be interesting to see how many of the above issues are covered by foreign media while China is on the world stage for 17 days. It’s hard for me to gauge what’s being covered back in Australia from here, but I’m wondering if sports results are drowning out any political coverage; I suspect is the hope of the people who prepared the above list.

Thanks to Laura F-P for posting the article on this blog’s wall!

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JasJam – Fairfax’s digital tool of choice

September 21st, 2007 · No Comments

Word is that many journalists at Fairfax Media (publishes of The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald have now received i-mate Jasjam training.

You can use the Jasjam to edit documents, record movies and take photos. Lots of products do that these days, but that’s Fairfax’s choice…

Check out cnet’s Jasjam review for more details.

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You’ve got 30 minutes to tell the news… Here’s my break-down…

November 17th, 2006 · No Comments

In a 30 minute TV news bulletin in Australia, about 7 minutes is set aside for commercials and of what’s left over, half is spent talking about sport.

So, a few weeks ago, I made my own Prime-Time TV news schedule, where I outlined how I’d roughly apportion time on TIM NEWS… Here’s the break-down…

TIM NEWS TIME ALLOCATION FOR DIFFERENT TYPES OF NEWS
GLOBAL (ie. affecting the globe): 5 minutes
INTER-NATIONAL (ie. between nations): 5 minutes
NATIONAL: 4 minutes
INTER-STATE: 3 minutes
STATE: 5 minutes
FINANCE: 3 minutes
SPORT: 3 minutes
WEATHER: 2 minutes

The focus shifts from the global to the local, before presenting finance, sport and weather.

This exercise was kind of interesting because it forced me to think about what TV news is good for and who watches it. Being a ‘Gen Y’, I hardly watch TV at all. I get most of my news online, but millions of people tune in at 6pm to watch the local news, so it’s not like the entire format of TV news is redundant because I don’t watch it.

Personally, I’m inclined to think that finance and weather are all better handled via the web and even print because so much data is involved, but I guess I can’t assume everyone has access to the web or newspapers, so I gave them a few minutes at the end.

I gave sport 10% of the bulletin, which is still a little high, but it’s a significant compromise from the status quo.

The outline above tells you something about my world-view and priorities. They’ll probably change over time, but for now, I’d watch that news. In Australia, the closest to my proposed format is SBS World News Australia.

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Examples of Fake News

April 6th, 2006 · No Comments

fakenews.jpg36 examples of fake news have been posted online as part of a report into Video News Releases (VNRs).

The site, which was launched this week allows you to first watch the video news package created by a PR firm, then, watch in dismay as the same content appears in a news story – without any warning or disclosure that the content is shot by a PR firm, not a news organisation.

We tune into the news because many of us want to be informed citizens – ideally informed by independent journalists rather than corporations with an agenda. I’m not aware of any examples of fake news being broadcast in Australia, but if you know of any, I’d like to know about it.

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Let’s give the ABC the support it deserves

March 27th, 2006 · No Comments

abc.jpgThe Federal Cabinet’s Budget Committee meets today to work out how much money to allocate to the ABC.

GetUp! emailed me to encourage me to sign their petition, which is designed to send a message to Canberra that there are people in the community prepared to take a stand for the ABC.

I’ve signed the GetUp! petition because I want the ABC to have the resources to extend and improve the quality of their offerings and I know that takes money. Here’s an excerpt from the GetUp! email:

…The deal is, currently the ABC provides four national radio networks, 60 local radio stations, three internet music-based services, a free-to-air digital channel and over 1.7 million pages of online content, for about half the budget of a typical metropolitan television station. The ABC is struggling to get by today on $264 million less in real terms than it had 20 years ago. That’s why you’ve been hearing talk of ads on the ABC, even though the government is expecting a $9.7 billion surplus.

To change the course of the ABC’s future we need to stand up in its defence.

We know that without a robust ABC, we’ll lose access to a distinctly Australian voice in our media, as well as quality independent content, from news and in-depth current affairs to trustworthy children’s programming.

Please join me at crucial moment in standing up for a future that includes public-driven, not profit-driven Australian media.

If you’d like to take a stand for the ABC, go on and sign the petition.

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