Ridiculousness, Seven style

The circus in Athens has begun, and now it's time for the sport to take centre stage. Not sport of the physical, raise-a-sweat, lose-some-weight, win-some-gold type, but instead sport of the oy-you-can't-show-that-we've-got-the-rights type. Channel 7 have paid about $70 million for the privelige of broadcasting the games, and they are desperate to squeeze every last drop out of their investment, with the IOC as willing assistants (explanation from Sally Jackson in The Oz):

The main restriction on non-rights holders is the so-called "three-by-three-by-three rule", which limits them to showing no more than three minutes of Olympic material in no more than three news programs, which must be at least three hours apart, per day - a total of nine minutes of fresh footage to be spun out over 24 hours.

There's been a fair bit of analysis as to how this will effect the way that the ABC, Nine and Ten (SBS are for the first time inside the tent) cover the games. There's been less focus, however, on the assault on the principles of news and journalism that the restrictive rules represent.

The Olympics are news, and deserve to be treated that way. News is a product that belong to all, and should not and cannot be hoarded by a select group. It is of public interest, and something the public is clearly interested in, and so it is a gross insult for access to footage of news to be restricted. The restrictions do not just control footage of the events themself, but include footage shot in the athletes village, the media centre, and just about anywhere where Olympic-related news might occur. Footage of press conferences with athletes are not open to all broadcasters... accept as part of the peek-a-boo 3x3x3 rule.

Although it is barely tolerable when the focus is on sport alone, it becomes intolerable when stories of drugs/crime/sex/terrorism/politics/corruption begin to emerge, and access to footage and information is restricted. It's a nasty trend, and it is ordinary punters who are the big losers. Sure, Seven need to get value for money from their investment (and gut instinct suggests they paid more than they should) it shouldn't be happening through practices bordering on censorship.


MelbLefty said…
It's disgusting. I'm surprised Nine hasn't run a challenge in the courts on the grounds of it being fair comment, particularly if news about cheats etc is supposed to be included in the 3x3x3 "rule".

The Olympics are a farce anyway. They are owned and run by a private corporation for the benefit of that corporation's board. The city-picking process is corrupt as hell. Footage of athletes making their achievements is not public domain, it's owned by whichever corporation paid the IOC the most. The IOC is what's wrong with the Olympics, and it's very wrong indeed.
Ari Sharp said…
True, the IOC has a lot wrong with it. There are a couple of British journalists who have investigated the dark underbelly for years and years, and have some amazing dirt of the IOC and those who run the circus. Check out Lords of the Rings if you can - much better than than rubbish by Tolkien.

But strangely, in spite of all that, watching the games is strangely addictive. I guess it's the same magnetism that draws people into watching World Championship Wrestling. You know it's all a bit of a charade, but you can't help but watch.
Anonymous said…
and here we go again, this time it's nines turn to be the baddy

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