Update: The International Olympics Committee has clarified the issue, saying that journalists will be free to post photos on Instagram. “Please take as many photos as you like!” said IOC spokesman Mark Adams, in the first of two emails to USA Today. “Sharing pix on social media positively encouraged.” Posting videos will be verboten, however, due to the draconian rules put up to protect the sale of the broadcasting rights.
Credentialed journalists at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia will not be allowed to use anything other than professional-level photo and video equipment, the state-run R-sport news agency announced in a training seminar on Friday. Any reporter caught snapping with a cameraphone or tablet for instant transmission will have their credentials stripped, and fans likewise will be banned from bringing “nonprofessional” cameras or video equipment into the stadiums.
Is there a Leni Riefenstahl-esque auteur among the Russian authorities who can’t abide the thought of a single grainy Vine clip or annoyingly filtered Instagram shot hurting the image of the winter games? More likely the social media ban is part of the increasingly oppressive atmosphere for journalists in Russia. Some Norwegian journalists covering the games have been arrested several times with little explanation.