The International Olympic Committee has issued explicit blogging guidelines to “accredited” participants in the Vancouver Winter Games that take place this month. As a marketing representative of the Olympics who promoted a large athlete blogger program — Voice of the Summer Games — in Beijing in 2008, I had some intimate insights into the IOC’s attitude towards blogging and freedom of expression by athletes which I stifled at the time in light of the corporate relationship. My true feelings towards the IOC and its bureaucrats may never be expressed in public, but suffice it to say that initial concerns about censorship going into Beijing which were directed at the wrong authorities. The guidelines just released confirm in my mind that the IOC is hyper-sensitive and misinformed about new media and self-published content, are trying to preserve their lucrative broadcast revenues by prohibiting athletes from posting videos of themselves or other athletes, and are primarily concerned about athletes using their blogs to promote non-Olympic sponsors. Bottom line. The IOC is protecting its bank. The guidelines continue to be restrictive, negative, and defensive in nature, and shows the wide distance the IOC needs to cover before it catches up with the reality of athlete, coach, sponsor, and fan generated content and coverage. The IOC should establish a program to promote blogging, tweeting, first-person streaming, and do its utmost to use its best assets — the elite athletes — to promote the Olympic ideal. Instead it will likely continue to issue DCMA take-down notices against non-sanctioned video and do its utmost to say “no” when it should be saying “yes.” I understand from a colleague who worked with me in Beijing that there is some hope for London, but someone needs to throw an intervention in Lausanne and tell the IOC the time has come to promote, not negate, athlete blogging. Sorry for the rant, but as one who was deep in the weeds with the IOC over this issue, it is depressing to see little if any change in their attitude in the past eighteen months. They are on Twitter: @olympics.
Thanks to Kaitlyn Wilkins for alerting me to the new guidelines via twitter.
Update: Newsy has produced a piece quoting from this post. I am not alone in finding the IOC wrong on this issue it would appear.