Journalists Banned From Using Smartphones at the Russian Olympics

11.11.13 Marina Galperina & Kyle Petreycik

According to Svoboda.org, any journalists who are seen using their phones, tablets, or point-and-shoot cameras to capture the 2014 Winter Olympic Games will be stripped of all of their credentials and will not be permitted to cover the event any further.

The organizer of Russian “Sports News Agency” Vassily Konov addressed the journalists undergoing mandatory training camp before they are allowed to cover the Olympics in Sochi later this year, notifying them that if they are seen using their mobile phones and other “non-professional equipment” to film or photograph the games, they will be in violation of the official rules. It remains unclear if international news outlets will be permitted to announce events after they occur on each of their various social media accounts.

The general public is allowed to Instagram to their heart’s content, because there is no way to regulate all of them, the organizer laments. The Verge picked up the Russian article earlier today, but the issue is much greater than Instagram.

It should be noted that regulating all the press — despite strictly, almost fascistic Kremlin-vetting of the journalists — is practically unrealistic. Russia’s other lofty laws — like those against marches and protest actions, as well those against “gay propaganda” and various instances of internet censorship  — have been selectively enforced in the past.

Despite Putin’s promise not to persecute the LGBT attending the Olympics event in Sochi, with the rise of homophobic and racist lynch mob violence, there is no way he can guarantee that conflicts between attendees, Kremlin-enabled hate groups and his own police force will not occur. So they’re trying a different method: Preventing adequate press coverage.