IOC maintains ban on athletes' venue 'propaganda'

NHK -- Apr 23
The International Olympic Committee has decided to maintain a rule on the Olympic Charter that bans "political, religious or racial propaganda" at fields of play and some other official places at the Tokyo Games.

Rule 50 of the charter bans these activities on the fields of play, in the Olympic Village, during medal ceremonies and the opening and closing and other official ceremonies.

In the 1968 Mexico Games, athletes from the United States who took part raised their fists into the air on the podium in protest against racial discrimination and were later expelled from the games.

Last year in the United States, a Black man died after a white police officer pushed his knee on the neck of the Black man. The incident sparked protests against racial discrimination among many people, including athletes, leading to the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee and athletes' requesting the IOC to revise the rule.

In response, the Athletes' Commission of the IOC has conducted surveys since June last year, covering athletes in 185 countries and regions.

The surveys show that 70 percent of the respondents said expressing such opinions at the Olympic venues was inappropriate.

The Athletes' Commission made recommendations to the IOC executive board based on the survey results. It said the IOC should not permit propaganda activities and should clarify disciplinary action for rule violations.

It also said athletes are allowed to freely express their opinions at press conferences and interviews during the games and on digital and traditional media, as well as through other permitted means.