The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Continues Ban on Podium Protests and Demonstrations

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will continue to ban athlete protests and political messages against human rights abuses on the podium of the Beijing 2022 Olympics after a survey found that majority competitors have supported a ban in place, it said on Wednesday.

The IOC said that it surveyed more than 3,500 athletes over the past year and that 70 percent and results showed that it was “not appropriate to demonstrate or express their views” on the field of play or at the opening or closing ceremony.

The survey also revealed that 67 percent of respondents disapproved of podium demonstrations.

Kirsty Coventry, who represents athletes on the IOC executive board said that the committee has not yet said what consequences athletes might face for protesting, but a “proportionate” range of punishments will be drafted before the Games.

“I’m not a lawyer so that is a little bit out of my realm,” she said.

“We’re asking the Legal Affairs Commission commission to come up with a proportionate range of different sanctions so that everyone knows, going into going into a Games, what they can and cannot do,” she added.

Athletes could still express their views during press conferences but in the IOC Athletes’ Commission document athletes were reminded that freedom of speech “was not absolute” and “may be limited” under certain restrictions, which it said covers the Olympic Games.


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