About Play the Game for Open Journalism

The 2008 Beijing Olympics is a significant event in the relationship between China and the media. At the behest of the International Olympic Committee, for the first time in recent history foreign journalists have been granted the right to work freely without interference from Chinese authorities.
The regulations do not pertain to just the coverage of the Olympics, but to coverage of all events in China since January 2007 until October 2008. Whereas once the world relied upon snapshots of China, foreign journalists can now paint a fuller picture of the country with the assistance of academics, officials and ordinary citizens.

With these new freedoms, also come responsibilities for all parties involved. For the Chinese authorities, the challenge is to respect the more liberal media regulations and avoid restrictions and violations.

For foreign journalists, the Beijing Olympics will be a chance to demonstrate the true standards and social value of the profession they pursue and play a part in the long term progression of Chinese news media. In support of their Chinese colleagues, who do not enjoy the same full media freedom rights, journalists from abroad must strive to maintain journalistic principles of fairness, independence, honesty and responsibility.

These challenges were set out in the report of the IFJ on its mission to China organised in April 2008. The conclusions of that report are enclosed with this project description.

From a sports perspective, the Olympics presents an opportunity for journalists to report on the effect of not only the present mega-events and its political, economic, social, cultural and sporting legacies in China. Lessons learnt can be of benefit in the coverage of future mega events, and have the potential to strengthen best practices in the hosting of mega events.

All in all, the Olympics in Beijing is an outstanding opportunity to renew and strengthen the public dialogue between the Chinese people and the outside world, a prerequisite of improving the mutual understanding.



  • To raise the quality of media coverage and public debate on the 2008 Olympic Summer Games in Beijing and its legacy
  • To lay a basis for a strengthened direct dialogue between Chinese and non-Chinese organisations, individuals and stakeholders in relation to media issues
  • To inspire to further progress in the development of freedom of expression in the People’s Republic of China through open, fact-based and respectful debate and dialogue
  • To improve the quality of media coverage surrounding sports mega events and their legacies


  • To establish a website, which will provide media professionals and other interested users with knowledge, inspiration and practical tools for their coverage of Olympic and Chinese affairs during and after the 2008 Games
  • To set up a helpline for journalists during the Olympic Games staffed by people with experience of Chinese news reporting practices. The helpline will offer assistance to journalists who are having difficulties reporting from China, as well as to document the experience of journalists in the wake of more liberal media guidelines introduced in the run up to the Beijing Olympics
  • To assess the impact of the Beijing Olympics on the media by conducting a survey of media professionals on their experiences of reporting from China
  • To send a delegation to China after the Olympics to report on the findings and experiences of the project




The project is a joint initiative of the International Federation of Journalists, the world's largest organisation of journalists, and the sports political institution Play the Game.

International federation of journalists

The International Federation of Journalists is the world's largest organisation of journalists. First established in 1926, it was relaunched in 1946 and again, in its present form, in 1952. Today the Federation represents around 600.000 members in more than 100 countries.

The IFJ promotes international action to defend press freedom and social justice through strong, free and independent trade unions of journalists.

The IFJ does not subscribe to any given political viewpoint, but promotes human rights, democracy and pluralism.

The IFJ is opposed to discrimination of all kinds and condemns the use of media as propaganda or to promote intolerance and conflict.

The IFJ believes in freedom of political and cultural expression and defends trade union and other basic human rights.

The IFJ is the organisation that speaks for journalists within the United Nations system and within the international trade union movement.

The IFJ supports journalists and their unions whenever they are fighting for their industrial and professional rights and has established an International Safety Fund to provide humanitarian aid for journalists in need.

IFJ policy is decided by the Congress which meets every three years and work is carried out by the Secretariat based in Brussels under the direction of an elected Executive Committee. The last Congress was held in Moscow on 28 May - 1 June, 2007.

- Visit the IFJ's homepage at www.ifj.org

Play the Game

Play the Game aims to strengthen the basic ethical values of sport and encourage democracy, transparency and freedom of expression in world sport.

This is achieved by:

  • Creating awareness of the role of sport in society at a local, national and international level
  • Drawing a many-sided picture of sport and supporting the right of the individual to choose and influence his or her own daily sporting activities
  • Ensuring a free, independent, open and fact-based debate on the current situation and future development of sport
  • Providing journalists, researchers and political leaders with both the inspiration and the tools to explore the cultural, political, social and economic aspects of sport
  • Creating networks across national and professional boundaries in order to meet the challenges of a globalised sports and media world.

In order to reach our goals Play the Game

  • Organises a world communication conference on sport and society every second year
  • Publishes regular newsletters on pertinent issues in sport
  • Builds a Knowledge Bank with articles on sport written by media professionals and leading experts
  • Organises various educational activities

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