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!