Tight rules govern social media for 2010 Games

vancouver_2010_logoCriticism levelled by Reuters’ editor-in-chief are highlighting again the restrictive rules for spectators seeking to use social media at the upcoming Olympic Games.

David Schlesinger said in a speech to the International Olympics Committee Press Commission that London 2012 will be covered by “Twitterers sitting in the stadium banging out the result in a Tweet from their mobile phone.” (2012?)

He called on organizers to step back from their hard-line policy on the issue: “It means working with the mobile phone and digital camera and media-enabled public, and not against them.”

The Vancouver organizing committee for the 2010 Winter Games is prohibiting spectators from:

Broadcasting or recording through the use of cellular phones or other recording or transmitting devices (e.g., two-way radios, recording devices, PDAs, or video cameras), use of flash photography or other lighting devices (e.g., laser pens, etc.)

In addition, it decrees that “spectators must consent to being inspected for prohibited and restricted items” while explicitly stating it will not provide storage for seized items.

The restrictions reflect the attitude in February 2005 when Bell Globemedia and Rogers Communications Inc. paid a record US$153 million for the Canadian rights to both the 2010 Winter Games and the 2012 Summer Games.

Ivan Fecan, Globemedia’s president and chief executive officer, told the Globe and Mail (one of its properties): “By 2012, we think there will be so much digital proliferation in the country that there will be opportunities in all of these platforms that we haven’t even thought of. And that doesn’t even deal with what might be available from mobile video and other applications.”

The assumption then was the companies could cash in on a broadcast monopoly in a wireless environment. But that was before Twitter and Facebook — and the iPhone.

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