Journalists who use amateur-standard technology to take photos or videos of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics will be kicked out immediately, the editor of Russia's state sports news agency, which is part of the Olympic accreditation committee, has reportedly said.
Vasily Konov, editor of RIA Novosti subsidiary R-Sport, told a seminar for sports journalists on Friday that print reporters using any sort of multimedia would be "considered a serious violation and lead to their accreditation being canceled," multiple Russian outlets reported. Only journalists with professional equipment and special badges will be allowed to do so.
[Update: International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams said otherwise in an email to USA Today's For The Win, writing, "Please take as many photos as you like!" and "Sharing pix on social media positively encouraged."]
"Organizers won't be able to have any effect on normal spectators, but supporters will be banned from bringing reflex cameras and nonprofessional equipment to the competitions," Konov added.
Konov later denied that he had made the statement and called a story from the user-generated Ridus news outlet a "monstrous lie." Radio Free Europe, however, reported him as saying the same thing.
"Look at my Instagram from the London Games and draw your own conclusions," Konov told BuzzFeed. "I've been going to the [Olympics] since 2000 and never had a problem like that once."
Several journalists have already fallen foul of strict accreditation regulations surrounding the Olympics. Dmitry Navosha, director of the popular site Sports.ru, accused the committee of denying his correspondents accreditation in August because his site was a vastly more popular competitor to R-Sport. RIA Novosti head Svetlana Mironyuk is head of the accreditation commission, and R-Sport boss Dmitry Tugarin is a member. Independent Dutch journalists working on a long-term multimedia project about Sochi were denied renewed press credentials in September. And a crew of Norwegian TV journalists were repeatedly arrested by police in Sochi in late October and early November with little to no explanation.
Max Seddon is a correspondent for BuzzFeed World based in Berlin. He has reported from Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and across the ex-Soviet Union and Europe. His secure PGP fingerprint is 6642 80FB 4059 E3F7 BEBE 94A5 242A E424 92E0 7B71
Contact Max Seddon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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