Censorship in Sochi

By | November 11, 2013


We have been talking a lot in class about the questionable decisions for the World Cup to be in Brazil in 2014 and Qatar in 2022 based on current conditions, but today we found out that officials at the Sochi Olympics will not allow photos and documentation to be shown to the public via many social media avenues and that other reporting will be highly monitored. According to the Huffington Post:

“Tweeting,” “Instagramming,” “Vining” and any other use of pictures taken with a phone, tablet or pocket camera are reportedly banned from the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, and any print journalist who violates this rule will be removed from the events immediately.

A recent Buzzfeed update says that the IOC says otherwise, and that social media usage during the 2014 Winter Games is actually encouraged, but we will have to wait and see what the future brings to see how social media will, or will not, be used. This is interesting as we have been discussing a lot the importance of social media and blogging in global events and how it gets more and more important each year. Even in this class, we are using a blog to get our ideas out to the rest of the world almost instantaneously and it seems that each major global event goes hand in hand with “‘Tweeting’, ‘Instagramming’, and ‘Vining.'”

Relating this to the World Cup in Brazil in 2014, social media and blogging has been and will be used in a variety of ways. Protests have gone viral about the spending of taxpayer dollars, David Goldblatt came in to class last week and showed us the importance of street art in Rio de Janeiro, and social media constantly helps the best goals and moments spread around the world almost immediately. Overall, it contributes to the fantastic globalization of soccer that makes the World Cup the most-watched event in the world.

In our world of social media, what do you think is going to happen? What would a global event like the 2014 Winter Olympics be like without social media? Will this be a precedent for the World Cup in 2018 in Russia?

Category: IOC Russia World Cup

About Bryan Silverman

Bryan is currently a junior at Duke University majoring in neuroscience. He is an avid soccer player, playing at high levels throughout his life, but not too much of a fan of any particular professional team. He is, however, the best FIFA player within his fraternity and welcomes any challenge to try to take him down.

One thought on “Censorship in Sochi

  1. Maggie Lin

    Let’s be honest here: it is pretty much impossible for information not to leak out of the 2014 Winter Olympics on social media, even if it were banned. Many governments have tried and continue to try to ban social media coverage of certain things, but there are always the few people who somehow manage to weasel their video or photo out into the blogosphere. So, I don’t really see how this is any different.

    Also, I don’t quite understand the purpose of this ban anyway. From what I understand, they’re saying that journalists cannot take pictures/videos with non-professional equipment, but spectators still can, which is pretty odd. However, if the spectators were banned too, then that would just be really strange. Without social media coverage, it would be like reversing time by about 10-15 years, and only receiving delayed updates through television and news/sports websites.

    In regards to everything, I think Sochi 2014 does set a precedent for the 2018 World Cup just as the 2014 World Cup in Brazil is setting a precedent for Rio 2016. There is still time for change, but I’m not sure Russia will want to change.

    Side note: if it is true that the Russians will be “track[ing] and monitor[ing] all phone, email and social media communication down to specific words and phrases,” that is a huge invasion of privacy, and I wonder how that is even allowed by the IOC, although I am not sure they have much say on the matter.


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