China still weak in Olympic media coverage

By Chen Zhao Source:Global Times Published: 2012-8-5 20:00:05

I have been a reporter for 20 years, and during these years China's national strength has been taking great steps forward. I've reported on six Olympic Games, and China's advances in terms of sports have been clear.

But regrettably, voices from the Chinese media are still lacking in international coverage of the Olympic Games.

Although the London Olympic Games has seen more than 1,000 Chinese reporters descend on the city, the daily coverage has involved far more enthusiasm from foreign reporters than Chinese ones. Domestic media has focused heavily on the Chinese team, limiting the scope of international coverage.

Young swimmer Ye Shiwen's fantastic performance in the 400m individual medley on July 28, shattering the world record, stirred up questions of doping from the Western media. Although the International Olympic Committee unveiled Ye's test results and proved her innocence, Ye was besieged again after winning the 200m medley on Wednesday.

China faces discrimination and is often besieged on some special issues, including the South China Sea clashes and China's ethnic policies. This is also the case in sports.

In the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996, after Chinese swimmer Le Jingyi won gold in the 100m freestyle, US newspapers accused her of using steroids and described her physique in unflattering terms. Such insulting reporting aroused Chinese anger. However, while many Chinese media counterattacks toward Western biases, they have found little traction in global media.

Gossip is too abundant, and clarifications are not much effective any longer, so making our own comments on more issues is more useful. That's how rumors could die down and we could shape the discourse of our way.

The Chinese media should also have a broader outlook in future Olympic Games, not only covering Chinese athletes but also other countries' sportspeople. In order to seize international discourse power, we have to be familiar with the rules and methods of international journalism, or we will always be inferior to others.

How to improve the discourse power of China in the Olympics is a lesson we have to go through. This is the same case with how to improve such power in China's political and military affairs.

I hope that Chinese media would be more powerful in the coming days of the Olympic Games, and that more quotations from Chinese media will be seen in the global press. After all, this is not only an athletic competition, but also a media one.

The author is a senior reporter with the People's Daily.

Posted in: Viewpoint

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