It might sound harsh, but reporters caught using their smartphones to snap photos or tweet about the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games this February will face being stripped of their credentials.
This winter, the Olympic Games are headed to Sochi Russia, and officials are very serious about putting the Games’ best face forward – on social media at least.
As The Atlantic Wire reports, journalists were told that they could lose their credentials and access to the Games if they’re caught posting photos to social media.
During a seminar for journalists covering the Games on Friday, officials in charge of accreditation made it very clear that anyone caught taking photos and posting them to Twitter, Facebook or other social networks would have their access revoked. Of the press, only professional photographers with the right equipment and permissions are allowed to take photos.
It might sound harsh, but the ban of social media during the Olympics is nothing new. During the London 2012 Summer Olympics, officials sent a similar message to journalists and even the 70,000 volunteers and the athletes themselves.
And despite all the warnings, there actually was a small issue with Twitter during the 2012 games: GPS data was apparently disrupted by too much tweeting during a men’s cycling race, making it difficult for commentators to distinguish who was in the lead.
Still, the London Olympics ultimately embraced social media, even going so far as to transform the London Eye into a Twitter sentiment gauge.
It will be interesting to see how seriously Russian Olympic officials crack down on journalists caught tweeting, and whether the ban will affect coverage of the Games.