July 8, 2008 / 2:22 PM / 12 years ago

China TV to scrap time gap for live Games broadcast

A Chinese man looks up at the nearly completed headquarters of the China Central Television (CCTV) in Beijing July 7, 2008. CCTV plans to scrap its usual slight delay for live broadcasts during the Olympic Games, allowing the audience to see everything "as it happens", the official Xinhua agency said on Tuesday. REUTERS/David Gray

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s state television plans to scrap its usual slight delay for live broadcasts during the Olympic Games, allowing the audience to see everything “as it happens”, the official Xinhua agency said on Tuesday.

China Central Television (CCTV) has always built a 30-second delay into the transmission of live programs to ensure they aired “smoothly and safely”, the report said.

The time lag also gives the government-controlled broadcaster a brief window to stop images of protests or content critical of officials from reaching ordinary viewers.

The decision to drop it will allow CCTV to synchronize with international TV and radio signals sent from the Games’ media hub, Xinhua said.

The broadcaster is dedicating 3,000 staff to the Games, with over 2,500 hours of programming going out on seven of the 17 channels it controls.

As part of Beijing’s bid to host the Games it promised temporary regulations to allow complete media freedoms, and around 25,000 foreign journalists are expected to cover the event.

But human rights group said on Monday that the government was severely breaching that pledge, harassing and restricting foreign journalists in Tibet and elsewhere. And the country has not relaxed its grip over domestic reporters.

Reporting by Emma Graham-Harrison; Editing by Alex Richardson

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