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Beijing prepares to meet press
By Yu Yilei (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-12-01 23:32

A top Greek official said it is important to provide assistance to non-accredited journalists attending the Olympic Games along with approved news media people.

 "We felt it is important to have an organization to provide facilities and help to those journalists who came to learn more about our nation,'' said Panos Livadas, general secretary of Greece Secretariat General of Information,

He headed the Zappeion Press Centre which aided more than 4,000 non-accredited journalists during the Athens Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.

The Zappeion centre, located in central Athens, operated in addition to the Main Press Centre run by the Athens Olympic Organizing Committee. Around 4,000 people worked there, including many volunteers. It opened two months before the Athens Games.

 "The idea of setting up such a centre was the enormous opportunity to explain the new identity of each Olympic host city,'' Livadas said.

It was also believed that such centre will be helpful to facilitate those media people who are not able to gain accreditation in the Olympic Games due to a limited number of credentials offered.

Media people reached a record high of 20,000 in Athens, far less than the actual requests from around the world.

But Beijing Olympic organizers said their main effort will be put on the Main Press Centre which serves accredited journalists.

"We will lend a hand to build and manage such a centre so that more and more people can come to learn more about Beijing," said Zhang Haifeng, vice-head of the Media and Communications Department of the Beijing organizing committee.

"But as the games start, our job is to serve for the Main Press Centre."

Beijing has started its efforts on meeting media demands by launching the Beijing Olympic Press Centre in Huabei Hotel on November 1. Wu Hui, head of the centre, said the Athens experience is valuable to them to better run the planned Beijing operation.

 "The preparatory phase is also a learning process from other Olympic Games hosting cities especially Athens,'' said Wang.

It is expected some 22,000 journalists will come to cover the 2008 Games.

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