Olympic blog gag

As a blogger myself and someone who is interested in institutional accountability and transparency I have spent sometime this morning looking at the website of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). I can’t find any financial information or minutes of executive board meetings or of their “Sessions” which are basically the AGMs of the IOC. If anyone knows where you can find this stuff please point it out to me and save me from having to write to request this information from the IOC.

In my search I did though find the IOC’s blogging guidelines for Beijing here. They are pretty constraining. You can only write about yourself or use a photo of yourself and if you transgress by talking about any other participant they threaten to take your Olympic identity and accreditation card away. So we won’t hear any stories of IOC bigwigs throwing hissy fits or “Count” Jacques Rogge, IOC President, picking his nose.

Apparently blogs need to be “be dignified and in good taste” and “at all times conform to the Olympic spirit and the fundamental principles of Olympism”. Sounds like censorship to me.

The IOC keeps an iron grip on the way the Olympics and they themselves are portrayed. For instance Rule 49, Bye-law 2 of the Olympic Charter says:

Only those persons accredited as media may act as journalists, reporters or in any other media capacity. Under no circumstances, throughout the duration of the Olympic Games, may any athlete, coach, official, press attaché or any other accredited participant act as a journalist or in any other media capacity.

The accreditation process and long memories allow them to control what accredited journalists say and their rules don’t allow anyone to compete with accredited journalists. This kind of authoritarian approach might be in keeping with 20th century totalitarian states but not with the modern world. Will London be different?

One reply on “Olympic blog gag”

Will London be different, you ask??
Probably not, if the London Development Agency (LDA) has anything to do with it.

They were given the task of assembling the land for the Olympic site, moving businesses off the intended site and re-locating them, and removing quite a few people from their dwellings to new locations. I haven’t met anyone yet who didn’t feel bullied and forced to accept something inferior to what they had. In many cases compensation fell well short of what people expected. The LDA enforced their appropriation of the land with a Compulsory Purchase Order so there was limited opportunity for argument or negotiation. That land will steadily rise in price, indeed it has already, as the Olympics infrastructure takes shape and as Stratford is expanded, and the LDA expect to sell it at a huge profit once the Olympics are over in order to pay the huge bill that will be part of the Olympics 2012 legacy.

One casualty of this appropriation of land was Manor Gardens Allotments, nearly 100 years old, a hidden treasure and really beautiful place. Their online petition to be saved attracted nearly 8000 signatures and the Plotholders fought valiantly, but to no avail. In its place will be a concrete walkway between stadia, and 2012 is supposed to be the greenest Olympics ever! So they started by destroying the greenest part of the site!

Part of the story is told by Valentine Low in his new book,entitled ‘One Man and his Dig’ and you can read that part of it on the Manor Gardens site at this link

It’s a good read, even if you don’t have an Allotment.


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