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Olympic Athletes Must Follow IOC Guidliness When Blogging

The Olympic Charter prohibits any journalistic work by athletes, but since the Turin Winter Games in 2006, the IOC has been forced to allow blogging during the Olympics -- although not without restrictions.

A person in front of a computer, with an olympic logo on the screen

Olympic athletes can blog, but are not allowed to "compete" with journalists

Under special IOC rules, an athlete's blog is not to contain interviews, photos and moving pictures from areas reserved for accredited journalists. A photo of the athlete is allowed, but not taken in an Olympic area.

That was unheard of in 1992 in Barcelona, where the opening ceremony almost ended in scandal when American stars brought mobile phones along and relayed their impressions live to their home country.

It was a blatant violation of Olympic rules but then IOC boss Juan Antonio Samarach issued a reprimand instead of kicking the athletes out which would have been possible as well.

But nowadays the IOC must acknowledge that an increasing number of people use modern communications techniques which include blogs.

Special rules

Fireworks are seen over the National Aquatics Center in Beijing during a rehearsal for the Olympic opening ceremony

The opening ceremony of the Olympic Games is a huge media event

Once several athletes had their blog in Turin 2006, the IOC executive board drew up rules to officially allow athletes their blogs while at the same time preserving the rights of the accredited media and the IOC sponsors who were paying big money to be part of the games.

"The IOC considers blogging as a legitimate form of personal expression and not as a form of journalism," the rules say.

"Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, blogs ... should take the form of a diary or journal and, in any event, should not contain any interviews with, or stories about, other accredited persons."

Furthermore, the rules require Olympic blogs to be "dignified and in good taste" and to conform to the "Olympic spirit."

Blogging falls under the rules from eight days before the games until three days after the closing ceremony. The IOC guidelines only apply for the Beijing Games and not future Olympics.

Speaking up about issues

IOC President Jacques Rogge

IOC President Jacques Rogge

Within the guidelines given, blogs could be one way for athletes to speak freely about sensitive issues such as human rights in China.

International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge did not explicitly mention the blogs, but did reiterate on Saturday that athletes were able to speak freely in Beijing within the rules of the Olympic Charter.

"The athletes have the right to freely express themselves," Rogge said. "If they want to criticise China they can do it at home or in China in a public place."

The charter prohibits demonstrations of a political, religious or racial nature in all Olympic areas including the athletes' village.

"The reason is that in the Olympic village there are 205 national Olympic committees. The Olympic village is a microcosm of the world."

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