Several Russian news sources are warning journalists about the ban on smartphones and tablets at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, citing a statement from Vasily Konov, head of the Russian operated R-Sport News Agency:
Journalists using mobile phones to film athletes or spectators will be considered a serious violation and will result in cancellation of accreditation.
All media must be obtained using professional equipment, and only with proper accreditation. Violation of the rules will result in the loss of accreditation or potentially jail time. According to Buzzfeed, Norwegian TV journalists were arrested on multiple occasions while working in Sochi. No explanation were given for their detainment.
While Konov is addressing journalists, many spectators have had similar experiences at previous Olympic events. In 2012, the London Olympics had similar bans for tweets and photos from the event:
Images, video and sound recordings of the Games taken by a Ticket Holder cannot be used for any purpose other than for private and domestic purposes and a Ticket Holder may not license, broadcast or publish video and/or sound recordings, including on social networking websites and the internet more generally, and may not exploit images, video and/or sound recordings for commercial purposes under any circumstances, whether on the internet or otherwise, or make them available to third parties for commercial purposes.
Spectators will likely be able to carry smartphones and tablets, but all images of the events are technically property of the International Olympic Committee. According to the Olympic guidelines, photos for personal use are allowed, but not for commercial purposes. All social media postings must be of a “diary-like” first hand account. No videos or audios are allowed. Further, there are strict restrictions on the use of the Olympic logo:
The Olympic symbol – i.e. the five interlaced rings, which is the property of the IOC – can be used by accredited media for factual and editorial purposes, for example in a news article covering the Olympic Games…
Participants and Other Accredited Persons must not use the Olympic Symbol on their postings, blogs or tweets on any social media platforms or on any websites. Participants and Other Accredited Persons may use the word “Olympic” and other Olympic-related words on their postings, blogs or tweets on any social media platforms or on their websites, as a factual reference, provided that the word “Olympic” and other Olympic-related words are not associated with any third party or any third party’s products or services. Participants and Other Accredited Persons must not use other Olympic properties such as NOC and/or Sochi 2014 emblems or mascots on their postings, blogs or tweets on any social media platforms or on any websites, unless they have obtained the prior written approval of their relevant NOC and/or Sochi 2014.
Many are already calling for a boycott of the event.
Update: According to Buzzfeed, Konov has since denied making that statement, but sources say otherwise. The IOC has also made several public statements encouraging the sharing of social photos, but videos like Vines are still prohibited. Remember when we though sharing London Olympic photos on Facebook could land you in court? For further information on the dangerous state of journalism in Russia, please visit the CPJ.