Why doesn’t the press report on the darker side of Olympics?
The artistically designed curved roof of the aquatic centre at the London 2012 Olympic Games precinct. AAP Image/Brian Cooper
With the tightfisted frequency at which the Olympics transpires, it is undoubtedly an event that creates mass hysteria across the globe every four years it dawns upon us.
People all over the world channel their energy and focus towards this showpiece. Quite rightly so, since the Olympic Games is the amalgamation and celebration of several components of sport, with people both on and off the field from various backgrounds coming together as one.
The media, like always, has a significant role to play at the Olympics, supplying the consumer with news and information.
It is mandatory for them to offer fans as many features as possible, but is it too much to ask of them to tell us about the repulsive side?
While every host city reaps immense revenue and benefit by organising an event as enormous as the Olympics, there is a hideous side to all the joy, glamour and opulence that goes unnoticed.
It’s a shame that in the quest to portray one’s nation to the world as supreme, the Olympics might only equate to further misery for the poor and the deprived in the host country.
According to the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE), a Human Rights organisation based in Switzerland, the Olympic Games has displaced more than two million people in the last twenty years with the largest number resulting from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, when an estimated 1.5 million people were forced to leave their homes.
A mind-boggling figure indeed and seldom do we come across stories from the media accounting for the difficulties and hardships these people are confronted with in the lead-up to the Games as well as later.
Moving on, the media has a ceaseless tendency to crave for skepticism. For instance, negative stories such as that of Australian swimmer Liesel Jones being unfit on the eve of the Games is an abhorrent approach and does no good but only further harm.
While the Games offers the perfect moment and platform to supply consumers good, positive and inspiring stories of athletes, it’s unfortunate that the media is content squandering most of their time scooping up an insipid story such as that of Jones.
But then, to be fair to the media, the real problem could be us consumers who show an inclination for pessimistic stories and therefore, the media is just catering to that particular aspect.
There seems to be a disparity that needs to resolved not just in regards to the coverage of the Games but sport, and more importantly, news in general. However, I am sure there are many sports fans out there who would be interested in stories about the other side of the Olympics.
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