The Olympic Games create news. Not just the medal tally, not just a swimmer’s paunch or international love match, but actual moments that history should record.
Imagine a powerful, significant event at an Olympic venue in London on the scale of Jesse Owens’ protest against the Nazis at the Berlin Olympics in 1936. A media blackout would mean nobody but selected media outlets with broadcast rights could show that for three hours — and then they could only show it for a few minutes a day.
Wonder why TV news bulletins have been running still images to capture Olympic competition? It’s because the International Olympic Committee threatens a lawsuit if they play more than six minutes of footage a day.
Six minutes. From hundreds of hours of footage from dozens of different events.
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The IOC says it’s to protect its broadcast rights holders, in Australia the Nine Network and Foxtel. It’s also draconian censorship that wouldn’t stand anywhere else.
The IOC decrees its role is to:
“… encourage and support the promotion of ethics in sport as well as education of youth through sport and to dedicate its efforts to ensuring that, in sport, the spirit of fair play prevails and violence is banned.”
How you do that without telling anyone about what goes on is anyone’s guess. Fair play? Not likely.