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News channels restricted to 6 minutes of Rio Olympics telecast; bans GIFs, Vines on social media

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News channels restricted to 6 minutes of Rio Olympics telecast; bans GIFs, Vines on social media

According to News Access Rules laid down by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), television news channels are restricted to play only six minutes of Rio 2016 Olympic Games that started on August 5 on a given day. Also, news channels were allowed to broadcast Olympic material three hours after the event has been aired by the broadcasting rights’ holder.

According to media reports, restrictions have been imposed on the number and type of programming and time period for which a channel can use Olympic material. That means a news channel can only air the material in six programmes, separated by a time frame of at least two hours. The total footage, however, should not exceed one minute in any programme. The rules defining the conditions on Olympic Games broadcast by the non-rights’ holding broadcasting organizations were sent by News Broadcasters Association (NBA) to various news channels.

The official broadcasters of Rio 2016 Olympic Games are Star Sports and Doordarshan. “No other organization may broadcast sound or moving images of any Olympic event, including training venues, sporting action, the Opening Ceremony, the Closing Ceremony and victory ceremonies, mixed zones, interviews or other activities which occur at Olympic Venues,” as cited in the rule book.

This was followed by further strict rules like “news programs shall not be positioned or promoted as Olympic or Games programs and Olympic Material cannot be used in any promotion for any News Program or any other program whatsoever.” Furthermore, non-news networks are allowed to use Olympic visuals in three news programmes separated by at least three hours. The footage in a programme cannot exceed two minutes.

Rules have been imposed on the social media front as well. According to media reports, the International Olympic Committee rule for news media prohibits short videos and GIFs as part of regulations that restrict how Rio Games are represented.

One of the rules in the IOC’s guidelines for news outlets covering the event states, “The use of Olympic Material transformed into graphic animated formats such as animated GIFs (ie GIFV), GFY, WebM, or short video formats such as Vines and others, is expressly prohibited.”


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Prior to joining Madison PR in 2012 Chaudhary was Group President Corporate Communications at Reliance Industries Limited.