An advertisement for the Winter Olympics on the front page of Norwegian media VG’s online newspaper has received criticism from Amnesty for contributing to ‘sports washing of China’, NRK writes.
The content of the ad comes from the Chinese news agency XINHUA, which is owned by the state of China. The ad is an article and is about what the Olympics have done for winter sports in China. At the top, it is marked with «Advertiser content».
According to Secretary-General of Amnesty Norway, John Peder Egenæs, VG is in a way involved in the sports washing of China.
“VG is helping China to produce a brilliant image. The ad appears as an article. It is presented as a violent sunshine article from China,” Egenæs says to NRK.
On Twitter, Amnesty Norway asks what assessments were made before Schibsted Partnerstudio entered into an agreement with the Chinese news agency.
“In our eyes, this is an important part of Chinese sports washing. Of course, this does not mean that we should refuse VG to print what they want, but we expect them to have a conscious relationship with the ads they print as well.”
Egenæs says that VG’s sports editorial staff has previously covered the darker sides of the Chinese system in a good way. “So it’s interesting to hear what they think about printing this ad.”
Øyvind Næss who is Chief of Staff at VG says that the discussion about the ad was taken at the editorial level.
“This is a clear advertising message from China, we know that. But this is not an article on VG, but an advertisement. I have great faith that VG’s readers, who are used to seeing ads in this format, understand that the sender is China,” Øyvind Næss says.