Extinguishing Media Coverage of Olympic Torch Protests

Pro-Tibet groups plan protests when the Olympic Torch procession gets to Canberra, the Australian capital, but the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG) has taken pre-emptive steps to minimize unfavourable media coverage. Paul Maley reports that "only a small clutch of media would be allowed to travel with the torch inside the security corridor." The Australian Capital Territory government's director of communications, Jeremy Lasek, said BOCOG "stipulated" that "the host broadcaster for the TV and radio rights gets a slot" in the media vehicle accompanying the torch. The national president of the Council for Civil Liberties, Terry O'Gorman, countered that there's a "clear conflict of interest" in giving preference to media companies with broadcast rights to the Games. "They've got an interest in promoting the Games and minimising any negative impact that the protests would have on the Games coverage," he said. Hill & Knowlton has the PR contract with BOCOG.