Russia reverts to threatening journalists, this time on Olympic coverage

The latest take down in Russia is that journalists using “non-professional” equipment will lose their credentials at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

The Olympics Will Not Be Tweeted, Vined, Or Instagrammed — Or Maybe They Will (BuzzFeed)

The news came directly from the state-run association that handles press credentials and reported on

The use of mobile phones by journalists who write for the filming of athletes or spectators during the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi will be considered a serious violation and will result in cancellation of their accreditation. – Journalists are banned from shooting gadgets Olympics in Sochi

The Atlantic reports:

At a seminar for sports reporters covering the games on Friday, Vasily Konov, the state-run RIA’s top sports journalist, made clear any time a journalist is caught using their phone to capture the Games in real time it “will be considered a serious violation and will result in cancellation of accreditation.” RIA’s sports division handles accreditation for Sochi. Only photographers will special passes and appropriate equipment — proper SLR and digital video cameras — will be able to document the action. “The organizers, of course, will not affect the usual crowd,” Konov told the gathered reporters , but assured them organizers would punish those who are caught.

And right after that the International Olympic Committee had to step in and reassure journalists that use of social media is not a “get kicked out of the country” offense. The IOC responded to an e-mail query from USAToday:

Journalists will be allowed to use Instagram, Twitter and other social media to post still photos and news from the Sochi Olympics, International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams confirmed to For The Win in an email on Monday.

“Please take as many photos as you like!” he wrote.

While it may look as if this little kerfuffle has settled down — the IOC, after all runs the Olympics and forced China into taking most of its Internet censoring software — the issue of how Russia treats free and independent media is still a big issue.

Reporters and news teams have been arrested and harassed as they try to do stories about the Olympic preparations. And others have had their credentials either delayed, denied or withdrawn. (Russia Curbs Freedom of Press Ahead of Olympics)

The harassment also extends to NGOs trying to get word out about environmental damage caused by the Olympic preparation. (And, of course, to reporters talking to those NGOs.)

According to Freedom House, Russian media are not free.


Although the constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press, officials used the country’s politicized and corrupt court system to harass the few remaining independent journalists who dared to criticize widespread abuses by the authorities.


1 Comment

Filed under Censorship, Freedom of access, Freedom of Information, Harassment, International News Coverage, Press Freedom

One response to “Russia reverts to threatening journalists, this time on Olympic coverage

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