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Negative media on Delhi Games unfair, says foreign journalist
New Delhi, Oct 11 (IANS):
Published on 11 Oct. 2010 11:33 PM IST
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“Exaggerated” and “unfair”... That is how many foreign journalists covering the Commonwealth Games (CWG) here describe the bad press the event has been receiving abroad, with some even saying it reflects a “pre-set negative mindset”.
John MacKinnon, a sports columnist from Canada who has been here for over two weeks, said: “I think the negative press the event organisers and India has been receiving are exaggerated.
“Some things like empty stands in some events are a matter of concern, especially for the athletes who need motivation. But on the whole the reports are unfair.”
MacKinnon said athletes were quite satisfied with the event that began Oct 3 and will go on till Oct 14. “If you ask me, then I think the athletes are on the whole quite happy with the arrangements.
“I have been interacting with the Canadian athletes and they are very happy with the facilities in the Games Village, the food, everything. They are abiding by protocol and see no reason to complain,” MacKinnon told IANS.
Voicing similar feelings, Mereseini Marau of the Pacific Islands News Association said athletes were quite happy with the arrangements. “I have been interacting with a lot of athletes from Papua New Guinea, Tonga and others and they are satisfied with the arrangements. Every big sporting event has its share of glitches and so does India. I think the opening ceremony put an end to a lot of negative reporting that India was getting,” Marau told IANS. However, bad press continues to dog the Games abroad.
The Telegraph for instance has been running a series, “What’s going wrong in Delhi today”, pointing out glitches such as empty stands, vomiting swimmers and blocked lavatories in Delhi. According to MacKinnon, much of the negative reporting stems from a pre-set mindset on the part of the media.
“There was a lot of negative reporting about the Games before the actual event, so maybe people have come here with a pre-set negative mindset. And you have to keep in mind that this is the first time India is organising such a big event, unlike China, where, before the Olympics, other events were held and they could learn from the mistakes,” he said.
Marau went on to say the Indian media was partly responsible for the negative publicity outside.
“We would never run down our country the way the Indian media does. It is bold actually, to say everything so openly and point out the shortcomings but a series of negative reporting by the home media puts a bad image outside,” she said.
A freelance journalist from New Zealand, however, said not all of the negative reportage was without reason.
“I agree that some reports have been very harsh, but there have been quite a few glitches. There is a problem with tickets, a scoreboard falls off somewhere, then there were reports of harassment in the village...,” he trailed off.
“But things seem to be on track now. The athletes are also satisfied with the arrangements,” he added.
Moazzam Hossain Choudhury of the Bangladesh Sangbad Sanstha said: “If I look at the arrangements from the point of view of a country in this part of the subcontinent, it’s brilliant. In fact we are very proud of it.
“But if you compare it to other sports events which are held internationally, then maybe India could have done better.
“I won’t talk about others, but if I compare these Games with others like the Doha championship and the Beijing Olympics, movement around the city has not been hassle free.
“But overall, I think the arrangements are good,” he added.

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