Monday, 11 February 2008

British Olympic Association cracks down on free speech

The British Olympic Association will muzzle free speech by its athletes by contractually ensuring that they do not criticise China.

If the Olympics were being held in the United States then do you think they'd have the same ban?

Europeans not being allowed to bash America? Isn't that the national pastime?

Pressure needs to be brought to bear on China to improve its human rights record. How a ban on talking about it will achieve this is beyond my ken.
British Olympic athletes will be forced to sign contracts banning them from criticising China's human rights record before travelling to the Games.

Each athlete will have to sign a 32-page contract, which includes clauses describing how they will not be allowed to comment on "any political sensitive issues", The Mail on Sunday reported.

The British Olympic Association (BOA) confirmed that any athlete who refused to sign the contract would not be allowed to compete at the Games, which begin in August.

The move is in stark contrast to other countries, including the United States, Canada, and Australia where Olympic Committee president John Coates has said athletes are "entitled to have their opinions" and will be "free to speak".

BOA chief executive Simon Clegg said if athletes stepped out of line in Beijing "action will have to be taken".

"There are all sorts of organisations who would like athletes to use the Olympic Games as a vehicle to publicise their causes," he told the newspaper.

"I don't believe that is in the interest of the team performance. As a team we are ambassadors of the country and we have to conform to an appropriate code of conduct."
It's yet another example of the cultural capitulation of the British.

(Nothing Follows)

1 comment:

Darren said...

I've read that the Brits have backed off, and will only insist that their athletes will follow IOC rules that state that athletes will not make provocative statements at Olympic locations.

The rule seems like good common sense to me. You don't pee in your host's dining room.