Criticism Mounts for NBC & Channel 4 Paralympics TV Coverage

By Community | August 31, 2012

London Paralympics TV covergae in Britain and America has received a backflash after disability groups criticised US broadcaster NBC for failing to show any of the action live and Channel 4 fell foul of critics in the UK.

NBC, which was also attacked for its Olympic coverage, denied its viewers the chance to watch an opening ceremony for the second time this summer and will show only four hour-long highlight programmes on its TV network. A week after the Paralympics finish, it will air a 90-minute special on the event.

Although there are highlights packages on the NBC YouTube channel there is anger in some quarters and several online petitions have been started.

One has been launched by Damon Herota of Florida. He told the Daily Mail: “It’s a sign of disrespect, especially to those military veterans who are competing. Attitudes are supposed to have changed since the days of Vietnam, when veterans were ignored. What message does this send?”

The story has also been picked up in America, where Sports Illustrated noted: “This year’s Paralympics are expected to draw their largest ever live television audience – except in the United States, where events will receive only minimal coverage and won’t be screened as they happen.”

The US broadcaster’s approach is in “sharp contrast” to that of other nations, said The Daily Telegraph.

Philip Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee, told the paper: “Some people think that North America always lead on everything, and on this they don’t. It’s about time they caught up.”

Channel 4 came under fire for running too many ad breaks during the opening ceremony. Although it recorded its best viewing figures for 11 years, the Daily Mail reported that the channel was “hit with a tide of criticism about its coverage of the Games”.

“Viewers are furious that the broadcaster kept cutting away from the action to go to commercial breaks during Wednesday night’s ceremony and as the sporting events kicked off yesterday,” it explained.