PtG Article 30.06.2008

IFJ and Play the Game launch website to assist Olympic journalists

Via the International Federation of Journalists and the world communication conference Play the Game launch a helpline and a website to support thousands of foreign journalists in Beijing.

The 10,000 athletes that will soon compete at the Olympic Games in Beijing are not the only ones to see their abilities tested to the limit. Around 30,000 journalists and an unknown number of Chinese government officials will face a test that they have had no chance to train for:

The test of practising the media freedom that the Chinese authorities have granted all foreign journalists temporarily before, during and after the Olympics.

"The China story is our greatest test. It’s a golden chance to showcase quality journalism for democracy. Working seriously is the best support that journalists can give to the principle of freedom of expression in China and all other countries," says the General Secretary of International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Aidan White.

That is why the IFJ now joins forces with the world communication conference on sport and society, Play the Game, to offer a helpline and background information on China at

The helpline is primarily targeted at the expected 10,000 foreign journalists who will come to Beijing without accreditation, but can be accessed by all journalists in Beijing during the Olympics. It will offer advice and assistance to journalists and Chinese authorities in case of doubts of difficulties when administering the liberal media rules.

The website is open for the public and will over the next few weeks be loaded with background information on Chinese society, sport and media provided by leading international experts.

All kinds of stakeholders and many different opinions will be represented on the website, and the organisers issue an open invitation to journalists, academics and others with knowledge about China and the Olympics to submit material for the site.

Special attention will be paid to ensuring that Chinese voices are heard.

“For foreigners there is a lot to learn from listening to the Chinese. The Olympics is a unique opportunity for opening the dialogue between the citizens of China and the world with a view to raising the standards of our future communication,” says Jens Sejer Andersen, director of Play the Game.

The goals of are:

  • 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

The initiative comes as a direct result of an IFJ mission to China in April where the delegates met among others Qian Xiaoqian, State Council Information Vice Minister and Jiang Xiaoyu, the Executive Vice President of BOGOC.