India: Ignorance at a distance

Written By: - Date published: 11:37 am, October 3rd, 2010 - 6 comments
Categories: International, Media, sport - Tags: , , ,

Tomorrow (1.30am our time) the Delhi Commonwealth Games opening ceremony will begin. Let’s hope, for everyone’s sake, that the Games proceed without incident. And good luck to all of our competitors.

It’s been pretty painful watching the media coverage of the Delhi games buildup over the last few weeks. What a lot of xenophobic nonsense we’ve been served up. Delays and rumours of organisational chaos (which are pretty much normal for international sporting events) mixed with a few isolated cases (disgusting to comfortable westerners but a common part of life in much of the less fortunate world) have been blown up to crisis proportions by a hungry media. Yes, there were problems with the preparations, and most Indians are rightly furious about it, but no it was never as bad as the media made it look in NZ.

The review in Media Watch this morning was excellent (audio here or it is broadcast again at 10pm) — try and catch it if you can. The Media Watch crew cover how those athletes and reporters (such as Greg Ford) actually on the ground in India report good conditions (tight security, excellent facilities, acceptable accommodation), while far more attention is paid to some commentators back here in NZ (like the deplorable Paul “cheeky darkie” Holmes) peddling the most ridiculous hysteria. In short our local coverage has been pretty disgraceful, “ignorance at a distance”.

We’re supposed to be a nation of travelers, with knowledge and experience of the wider world. It would certainly be nice to see a bit of that experience, a bit of balance and maturity, in the reporting of international events. But I guess I shouldn’t hold my breath. Anyway – the Games are on. May they go well, and end up being the world showcase for India that they always should have been. And – Go Kiwis!

6 comments on “India: Ignorance at a distance”

  1. ianmac 1

    Are we surprised that MSM took the “disaster at hand” tone?
    The best that can be said of the loud calls from the Games Adinistrators is that they would be damned afterwards if they didn’t sound a warning. Amused at “Mike McRoberts in Near death crash!” as reported in MSM. If that is the nearest then what a lucky fellow.
    As for Paul Holmes! Must be getting/giving lessons with that Paul Henry! Awful!

  2. Rex Widerstrom 2

    Errrrm… I’ve been watching the Australian coverage, which has included:

    – Chris Reason from Seven walking into “secure” venues, past dozens of uniformed guards, carrying a heavy bag and never once being stopped or asked for ID. He did that on at least two occasions at two different venues I’ve seen. Then he went back to the same entrance, and the same set of uniforms and showed his media pass and was refused entry! So security is non-existent and chaotic.

    – Shots of pools of dirty brown water all over the floor of athlete’s bathrooms, filth in handbasins and so on. Sorry, maybe I’m a “comfortable Westerner” and maybe those conditions are acceptable to the Indian organisers (certainly TV here showed footage of an official saying it was) but if India couldn’t get things up to scratch – and clearly it couldn’t – it shouldn’t have over-reached.

    Personally, I don’t think any city should bid to host these events. Even Sydney, which received a great deal of praise for its efforts with the 2000 Olymics, has admitted that the pay-off hasn’t lived up to the hype. Similarly South Africa with the World Cup. The money spent on facilities that are used once would be better invested in infrastructure for the people who live there.

    But that doesn’t in any way excuse the greedy and duplicitous Indian officials who told the Commonwealth Delhi would be ready, and it isn’t.

    • r0b 2.1

      Chris Reason from Seven walking into “secure” venues, past dozens of uniformed guards

      That’s a bloody irresponsible stunt, and we know nothing about the security status of these venues when he tried it. Also, Indian security will no doubt be profiling (looking for Pakastani terrorists) not obvious westerners. Reason hasn’t shown that someone from that demographic can get away with it. No security anywhere is perfect – let’s hope India’s is good enough.

      Shots of pools of dirty brown water all

      I didn’t deny that those things happened, they did, and most Indians are quite rightly furious at the cockups that occurred. I am saying that the reporting of these events got blown out of all proportion, and that that was largely due to xenophobia and ignorance. Listen to the Media Watch clip…

    • Colonial Viper 2.2

      Regardless of any differences in planning, resourcing and organisational skills, China had their media plan *ahem* media control, for the Olympics much better sorted out.

  3. michael laws (No not that one) 3

    I think the template for major sporting events was the 1936 Olympics, which was organised with a level of concerted discipline that modern nations would do well to emulate.

    [Identity theft not welcome here – please don’t do it again. — r0b]

    • The Voice of Reason 3.1

      Ho ho, very amusing. I assume you’re not the real Michael Lhaws? I’m told by those who know him that he’s far too intelligent for this kind of comment.

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