Monday, August 4, 2008

News from China via Neilson

Yesterday's NYT contained a magazine-format China Olympics feature. Far more engaging than the pedestrian articles it contained was a series of 'pop quizzes' from Neilson on issues like what kind of ice cream do American's prefer? One eye-opening pop quiz asked for the country in the world with the most cell phones. It was China (suprise!). It made me wonder how well controlled the site-exploration for cell phones is. I found out myself that there is a 30 second tape delay on network news. When I was in China, one of the news shows in English I watched covered a Tibet demonstration (I found this out when I returned to the USA). In my hotel, what I saw was this: newscaster sitting in front of a map of Tibet, says, "Today in Lhasa...", then the screen goes totally blank for 2 minutes. When he resumed, there was no announcement. So TV is under tight wraps. The news has been full of the censorship of the journalists' internet connections at the Olympics newscenter and the hotels. But phones? Maybe they offer a loop hole, who knows?