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SBD Global/November 12, 2013/Olympics

Reporters Warned That Use Of Social Media Could Mean Expulsion From Sochi

The editor of RIA Novosti subsidiary R-Sport said that journalists who "use amateur-standard technology to take photos or videos" of the 2014 Sochi Olympics "will be kicked out immediately," according to Max Seddon of BUZZ FEED. R-Sport Editor Vasily Konov told a seminar for sports journalists on Friday that print reporters using any sort of multimedia would be “considered a serious violation and lead to their accreditation being canceled,” multiple Russian outlets reported. Only journalists "with professional equipment and special badges will be allowed to do so." Konov said, “Organizers won’t be able to have any effect on normal spectators, but supporters will be banned from bringing reflex cameras and nonprofessional equipment to the competitions.” Konov later "denied that he had made the statement" and called a story from the user-generated Ridus news outlet a “monstrous lie.” Radio Free Europe, however, "reported him as saying the same thing" (BUZZ FEED, 11/11). The ATLANTIC WIRE reported reporters "will not be tweeting, Instagramming, Vining, or Pinteresting the Olympics because they stand to be stripped of their access if they are caught." Konov "assured them organizers would punish those who are caught." The penalty "is a serious one for such a trivial crime." But this is not a case of Russia "cracking down on the rights and freedoms ahead of a world event." The 2012 London Olympics "had similar restrictions on reporters' abilities to take photos and videos but it wasn't widely enforced." But Russia "promises to crack down on the extra curricular photography." Perhaps they are "worried reporters will catch how the Olympic sites that aren't quite constructed yet, and some are worried they won't finish before the Games, which are only a few months away" (ATLANTIC WIRE, 11/11).
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