Glen Smith on 15 Aug 2000 14:35:01 -0000

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CyberNeews / Aug13,2000.

"This is boring" was the angry response from media activist and freedom of
speech advocate Belinda Hawkins. She was upset at the recent announcement
by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to police the internet for
any unauthorized content that is uploaded during the Sydney 2000 Games in
September. The IOC are concerned that the internet will jeopardize highly
lucrative television broadcasting rights. 

Media giant NBC has paid over US$700 million to be the exclusive
broadcaster of the 2000 Games in the United States. However, because of
the time difference between Sydney and the US, the NBC coverage will be
taped and specially edited for primetime viewers. Why not go live? The
advertising revenue during prime-time is far greater than at 4am in the

But what about the thrill of live as-it-happens TV? Apparently this won't
be affected. The NBC monopoly will trick its viewers in to believing the
Games are happening live. The internet, however, may interfere with NBC's
illusion-making but that is where the Olympic cyber-cops fit in. 

The IOC has hired a special team of experts to search the internet for
sites containing content that is infringing what they claim is their
"property rights". Once found, the webmaster of the site will be told to
shut the content down. 

Hawkins is based in Sydney and is planning to publicize a call to action
to defend "the right to upload". She believes that it is wrong for the IOC
to dictate how, when and where images from such a public event as the
Olympics can be used. "If I am moved by what I see, then I should be able
to express that emotion to the world", she says. "And if pictures and
video enable me to communicate my feelings better, then I should be able
to publish images and stream video". 

So how will one young woman take on a media giant like NBC and a secret
and powerful establishment like the International Olympic Committee?
"That's our secret. We have already discussed strategy with activist cells
from around the world. The only way they (NBC/IOC) can monopolize the
media this century is by shutting down the whole internet". 

Unfortunately, NBC, the IOC also have friends around the world and very
possibly can shut down the internet or better still, turn it in to a
broadcast medium controlled by a few - just like the television stream. 

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