‘Best experience’: Rio visitors denounce media scaremongering about Brazil Olympics
Ahead of the Rio Olympics, some of the western media did not mince their words while reporting on the situation in Brazil ahead of the Games. “The spread of the Zika virus,”“spending hours” in traffic jams, sewage in the shower and Islamic State threats painted a very negative picture.
RT correspondent Ilya Petrenko went to find out whether foreigners in Rio feel they might have looked for another place to be this summer. A reality check, however, showed that it’s not all that bad.
“We’ve had a great time so far,” a man told Petrenko after being asked how Rio has been treating him during the Olympics.
Simply “wonderful,” another woman said in reaction to RT’s question about her stay in Rio. Another Olympics fan said that it had been “one of the best experiences so far.”
The people we spoke to admitted that many media outlets were rather tough on Rio Olympics before the Games had even started. “So far it’s been very detailed about diseases and crime,” one man told us. “Dangerous, you are going to get sick,” they warned, a female visitor described media reports.
It’s no surprise that when asked to write down the most popular words people heard during the media coverage, “Zika virus,”“ISIS” and “pollution” topped the list.
During the Olympics, reports of robbed tourists and athletes indeed surfaced in the media. A Russian swimming silver medalist at the 2012 London Olympics who visited Rio as a fan was stripped of his wallet by armed young gunmen.
Dirk Van Tichelt, a Belgian judo bronze medalist at the current Olympics, was also robbed and even beaten. These incidents, however, reflected only part of the reality.
“I think they’ve done it really good,” one man said regarding the organization of the event. Another visitor said he “always felt safe here.”
According to the people Petrenko interviewed, the negative media fuss before the Olympics was all about getting viewers’ attention.
“It’s lot easier to bash the place and have the audience like ‘Oh, my gosh,’” said one visitor, while another suggested that some of the papers and channels simply stuck to the rule that “bad news travels fast.”