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Brazil Again: Blogs Banished from 2007 PanAm Games in Rio

Pan: No BlogsThe Brazilian blogosphere is becoming one of the main fronts in the battle against Internet censorship. The reason for that can be the growing audience created by the amount of time local internauts devote to web surfing, which was once again rated as the highest in the world. But it can also derive from the silliness displayed by local authorities on decisions that directly meddle with the very core of what has come to be accepted as Internet freedom. The attack this time centers around the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio and takes the form of a policy that prohibits the participating athletes from maintaining blogs, flogs, video logs or personal websites during the Games. And — if that wasn't enough — Internet media won't be allowed to present any story or news featuring audiovisual content of the competition, not even trainings in public locations.

Acabo de ler agora no Jornal O DIA, aqui do Rio de Janeiro, que o COB pretende censurar os atletas para que eles não possam publicar em seus blogues ou sítios pessoais nada sobre os jogos panamericanos de 2007!… Não é possível imaginar um disparate destes em plena Era da Informação! Ei McFly, a personalidade do ano de 2006 foi o cidadão comum [1] , que, se desejar, usa o seu blogue como lhe convier para, entre outras coisas, dá a sua visão das coisas! Acorda Sr. Nuzman!
COB tem mentalidade da Era Industrial…Sérgio Blog 2.3

I just read in ‘O Dia’, a local Rio de Janeiro newspaper, that the COB [Brazilian Olympic Committee] intends to censor the athletes so that they won't be able to publish in their blogs or personal websites anything about the 2007 Pan American Games. Hey McFly, the Time's person of the year in 2006 was the common citizen, who utilizes his own blog, among other things, to offer his personal view about things! Wake up Mr. Nuzman! [President of COB and also of the Organizing Committee of the XV Pan American Games Rio 2007]
COB has industrial age mentality…Sérgio Blog 2.3

Em tempos de YouTube e aumento de usuários de banda larga, o COB [Comitê Olímpico Brasileiro] resolveu proibir a transmissão ao vivo dos Jogos Pan-Americanos pela internet. Evento que acontece em julho. Nas entrelinhas… Quem mandou querer se informar pela internet, fonte de informação cada vez mais usada no mundo? Tem que ver pela TV! Pelo visto, o Brasil é um dos poucos países onde é ruim ser usuário de internet e ainda ter banda larga. Quanta ousadia querer ter algo “tão avançado” no Brasil. Você é punido. Como sempre, por aqui, nivela-se por baixo.
COB pune usuário de banda larga no BrasilTiago Dória

In these times of YouTube and of growing numbers of broadband users, the COB [Brazilian Olympic Committee] decided to forbid live broadcasting of the Pan American games through the Internet. Reading in between the lines… How dare you use the Internet, the world's fastest growing source in the world, to get information? You must watch it on the TV! From what we observe, Brazil is among the small group of countries considering Internet users and broadband connections a bad thing. What an audacity to have such an advanced technology in Brazil. Then you are punished. As always around here, it is leveled at the low.
COB punishes broadband users in BrazilTiago Dória

São estas pequenas coisas, somadas à outras coisas não tão pequenas como a censura do youtube, a moderação do orkut sem um bom motivo e a proibição do COI (acatada pelo COB) de veicular imagens do Pan na internet e os atletas de manterem sites pessoais durante o Pan só mostram o despreparo de muita gente para lidar com a Internet. Especialmente no Brasil, corre-se o risco de termos problemas identicos ao da época da ditadura com a liberdade na Web, só que dessa vez por medo e falta de conhecimento sobre este novo meio de comunicação. O que a imprensa tradicional vêm dizendo nos últimos meses, ao meu ver, é que a Internet é um reduto de vagabundos mal intencionados e que seus filhos estarão muito mais seguros vendo mulheres nuas rebolando na Sapucaí, pela tevê.
Rede Globo vs. InternetCrash Tester

These small things, added to others that are not so small — such as the youtube censorship, orkut moderation of communities for weak purposes, and COI's [International Olympic Committee] decision, endorsed by the COB [Brazilian Olympic Committee], of prohibiting the broadcast of Pan's images on the Internet and also vetoing the use of personal websites by the athletes during the Games — only shows the amateurishness of the people here in dealing with the Internet. Especially in Brazil we are under the risk of having the same problems with Internet freedoms that we had during the dictatorship, but this time due to fear and lack of knowledge about this new communication media. What traditional media are saying in the last months is, in my view, that the Internet is a place of ill-intended rascals, and that the kids will be much safer watching naked women swinging in Sapucai [the Sambodrome, from where the Samba Parade is broadcast to dozens of countries], through the tube.
Rede Globo vs. InternetCrash Tester


A quick review
of previous Global Voices’ posts about Brazil convincingly shows why we say that the local blogosphere is one of the hottest firing lines in the push for digital liberties. Starting from the blocking of blogs by the Electoral Justice System during the last elections (Election and Censorship Dialectics in the Brazilian Blogosphere), and the voting of a bill in Congress that would require identification for any web action involving interactivity (Holding the line for Internet freedoms in Brazilian Cyberspace), to the latest scandal that blocked YouTube access in the country (Cicarelli Case: Censorship and Boycott Dialectics in the Brazilian Blogosphere), the world is getting accustomed to hearing about Internet battles in Brazil. It is becoming an endless clash of real world institutions against the YOU of the virtual environment. Yes, YOU, the Time magazine 2006 person of the year.

This time it seems obvious to commenters that the restrictive rules were set by the local Olympic Committee in order to please TV networks — the major sponsors of the event. But even among business-minded sponsors the prohibition is being seen as an overreaction which can cause more harm than good to their image.

De acordo com o Comitê Olímpico Brasileiro, a proibição vem da Odepa (Organização Desportiva Pan-Americana), que segue os mesmos procedimentos adotados pelo COI. “A razão é proteger as empresas detentoras de direitos dos Jogos, evitar o marketing de emboscada e evitar que empresas ou pessoas que não têm associação comercial com os Jogos façam promoção de sua marca”, informou o comitê.
[Censura] COB proíbe blogs e censura sites de atletas no Pan-2007OMEdi

According to the Brazilian Olympic Committee, the prohibition comes from ODEPA [Pan-American Sports Organization], which follows the same procedures adopted by the COI [International Olympic Committee]. “The purpose is to protect the companies retaining the rights to the Games, to avoid ambush marketing and prevent those institutions or persons who do not have commercial association with the Games to develop promotions with their trademark”, informed the Committee.
[Censorship] COB forbid blogs and censor athletes’ websites in the Pan-2007OMEdi

Infelizmente, isso é normal. Eles pagaram (e não deve ter sido pouco) pelo direito de exclusividade das imagens de vídeo e áudio do evento. Mas, com certeza, isso não vai impedir a disseminação de conteúdo produzido por usuários. Logo, teremos vídeos no YouTube, Google Video e outros do gênero. Se forem bloqueados, alguém vai dar um jeito de hospedar o conteúdo em outro lugar. E o que é pior (para eles), os usuários poderão ver esse material quantas vezes quiserem, coisa que ainda não se pode fazer na TV – diz Della Valle ao JW.
Jornalistas criticam proibição do COBJornalistas da Web

Unhappily, this is a common situation. They've paid (and it was not a little cash) for the exclusivity of the event's video and audio. But it surely won't prevent the circulation of user produced content. We will soon have videos on YouTube, Google Video and others alike. If those are blocked, someone will find a way to host the content somewhere else. And what it is worst (for them), users will be able to see the content as many times they wish, which is something they can't do on the TV – declares Della Valle [IG Portal Technology Editor] to JW [Web Journalists].
Journalistas criticize COB's prohibitionJornalistas da Web

Mesmo patrocinadoras do Pan, como a Oi, poderão ser atingidas pela regra. A empresa de telefonia hospeda blogs de atletas que devem estar no evento, como Flávio Canto e Tiago Camilo (judô), Mariana Brochado, Joanna Maranhão e Kaio Márcio (natação), Ricardo Winick (vela) e Keila Costa (atletismo). “Não sabia da proibição. Fico um pouco frustrado. Os blogs servem para o atleta ter contato com interessados no esporte e torcedores. Fico animado por saber que tem tanta gente torcendo”, lamenta Kaio Márcio. A Oi afirmou, por meio da assessoria de imprensa, que não comentaria o caso, mas respeita regras da Odepa e do COB.
COB proíbe blogs e censura sites de atletas no Pan-2007Judô e Poesia

Even sponsors of the Pan, as Oi [Brazilian Telecom company], will be harmed by the rule. The telecom company hosts blogs from athletes that will be in the Games, such as Flavio Canto and Tiago Camilo (Judo), Mariana Brochado, Joanna Maranhão and Kaio Marcio (swimming), Ricardo Winick (sail) and Keila Costa (track and field). “I was not aware of the prohibition, and I confess my frustration. The blogs are a means for the athlete to keep in contact with people interested in the sport, and also with supporters. I am happy to know that there are so many people supporting”, complains Kaio Marcio. Oi stated, through its press release, that it will not comment on the case but that it will respect ODEPA and COB's rules.
COB forbid blogs and censor athletes’ websites in the Pan-2007Judô e Poesia


The backlash against the olympic rules
which attack web 2.0 principles in Brazil is already being predicted (and planned) by local activists. Blogs are being launched with the special purpose of circumventing the restrictions and technical options are being debated in order to guarantee web access to the Game's images.

Este blog eh para mostrar para o Sr. Carlos Arthur Nuzman e sua gangue que a melhor censura que ele pode fazer é se retirar do mundo esportivo. Sr. Carlos Arthur Nuzman retire-se da COB. O senhor é um mal para todos nós que já fomos atletas um dia. Durante o Pan eu vou filmar o máximo de imagens possivel e disponibilizar aqui neste blog.
FunçãoCobertura Pan 07

This blog exists to show Mr. Carlos Arthur Nuzman [President of COB and also of the Organizing Committee of the XV Pan American Games Rio 2007] and his gang that the best censorship he can make is to retire himself from the sports world. Mr. Nuzman, get out of COB. You are a bad influence to all of us who were athletes at one time. During the Pan Games I will film as much as I can and will publish here in this blog.
PurposeCobertura Pan 07

Alheio a esse conflito de interesses, os internautas já sabem perfeitamente que não tem como controlar, limitar ou bloquear a maré da rede. Basta um espectador comprar seu ingresso e entrar no jogo com o celular, enquanto outro ligar o sinal de TV a cabo na placa de captura, ao mesmo tempo em que outras centenas de pessoas mandem tudo isso para o YouTube. Já passou da hora dos homens dos direitos, das distribuidoras, das gravadoras ou de qualquer empresa que lida com informação repensarem seus modelos de negócio.
Internet, Pan, e os donos dos direitosMarmota, e mais dos mesmos

Apart from the conflict of interests, the internauts already know that there is no way of controling, limiting or blocking the network tide. It is enough that one spectator buys a ticket and gets into the audience with a cell phone, while another can connect a cable channel line into a video capture board and, at the same time, hundreds of others send all this to YouTube. It's already past the time for those rights’ owners, broadcasters, recording companies and all the entepreneurs dealing with information need to rethink their business models.
Internet, Pan, and the rigths’ ownersMarmota, e mais dos mesmos


We have still 160 days
to go before the opening of the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro and you can be sure that this issue will be very alive until then. If you have something to say about it please feel free to comment below.

8 comments

  • [..]Depending on what you read, there will or will not be blogging taking place at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio. Community online blogger Maki Papadopoulos: Today I got some great news from the Canadian Olympic Committee! Community-online.com has been granted a total of five (5) media accreditations for the coverage of the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro (July 13-29).[..]

  • nice post! i can’t believe that the committee cannot see the advantages to being a bit more liberal…sorry, but the web2.0 genie is already out of the bottle and there’s no putting him back inside…but maybe a balance does need to be struck among all stakeholders? i’m sure that advertisers are paying a pretty penny to have their products shown on national tv, so there are some legitimate concerns, i think, and you?

  • […] Global Voices Online ? Blog Archive ? Brazil Again: Blogs Banished from 2007 PanAm Games in Rio Jose Murillo has an excellent post, translating from Portuguese, showing Brazilian frustration at rules designed to prevent the blogging and vlogging of the Pan-American games, to be hosted in Brazil in a few months (tags: brazil freespeech blogs globalvoices) […]

  • Hello Jordan,
    Thanks for the comment. I think old media’s business models are rapdly becoming unsuitable to cope with the new possibilities presented by user participation on the web, and the latest controversies in Brazil are somehow evidencing the trend. My suggestion would be that the energy spent by corporate media in trying to control these evolvements should be focused on rethinking their social role in ‘our’ brave new environment. I agree with the guy from ‘Marmota, e mais dos mesmos’, who says:

    “It’s already past the time for those rights’ owners, broadcasters, recording companies and all the entepreneurs dealing with information need to rethink their business models.’

    Internet, Pan, and the rigths’ ownersMarmota, e mais dos mesmos

  • […] o bom trabalho no blog. Sauda

  • Wow, at this day and age such bans still do occur. But really I would like to know how this could be done with such a vast amount of ways one can publich content online.

  • […] As soon as the information about the verdict circulated on the net, Portuguese posts commenting the 4 year in prison sentence given to blogger Abdel Kareem Suleiman started to appear. Brazilian bloggers sensitiveness about any situation involving censorship is a direct consequence of the many recent attacks to their freedoms on the Internet, as showed by previous GV reports here, here, here, and also here. That’s why they are ever ready to take a stance and fight to maintain a status they believe they’ve already conquered for themselves. In addition, Kareem’s case brings in some reflexions about how different might be the Arab culture in relation to the freedom notions Brazilians are now practicing through blogging. […]

  • […] restrictions on athlete’s blogs had already indicated the event’s organizer’s broadcast-only leanings. Indeed, the TV […]

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