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Beijing Paralympics draw unprecedented media attention
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The impending Beijing Paralympic Games, scheduled to open on Saturday night, have attracted more than 6,000 journalists, 2,960 of whom are foreign, but some believe the Paralympians deserve still more media attention.

The Beijing Organizing Committee of the 29th Olympic Games (BOCOG) recently announced that many of the world's leading media organizations, such as AP, Reuters, Xinhua, AFP and Getty Images, had dispatched journalists to cover the Beijing Paralympics.

Wang Wei, a BOCOG spokesman, said on Friday at a press conference that "the total number of media organizations which come to cover the Beijing Paralympics is more than those of previous Games."

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced on its website that the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games will get an extensive live coverage online.

Viewers can go to ParalympicSport.TV, the IPC's Internet TV channel, for live coverage of the events, which runs a minimum of eight hours per day.

China's state television, China Central Television (CCTV), has also announced plans to broadcast live at least three events a day during the Paralympics, which run from Sept. 6-17.

Damir Sencar, a photographer with the HINA, Croatia's national agency, said only four journalists from Croatia covered the Athens Paralympic Games four years ago, while this year there are eight, four from TV, two from radio and two from the national agency.

"I think it is maybe because the IPC becomes more involved with media and the Games are becoming more interesting for media and people," Sencar said.

Although media attention to the Paralympics is growing, it needs more improvement compared with the Olympic Games, he noted.

According to some journalists from Britain, the UK media has given quite a lot attention to the Beijing Paralympics.

"As the country is the host of 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, British people seemed interested in everything," said Stephen Leonard Bond, a journalist from UK's Sportsbeat.

Bond spoke highly of the Beijing Paralympics' organizing work, saying that the travel from one venue to another is convenient, the staff are helpful and their English is fluent.

"My impression of the Beijing Paralympics is overwhelming! It seems that the Chinese people really care about this event and that can only send a good message all over the world," said Steven C. Barber, a US filmmaker who is shooting a documentary about some disabled athletes.

The event will help enhance the life of the disabled people across the world, as it is their turn to come out to the front of the line, said the American.

He called on media organizations to pay more attention to the Paralympic Games, pointing to the fact that the number of journalists covering the Paralympic Games was always far less than that for the Olympic Games.

Barber said he turned to pay attention to the life of the disabled two years ago, when he lived with a person with disabilities in the same apartment building.

"Sometimes the disabled are discriminated against or ignored. But no one wants to be disabled. It is not a choice. We as civilized human beings must help the disabled. It is the right and decent thing to do."

(Xinhua News Agency September 5, 2008)

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