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Australian Television Network Violates IOC Rules, is Banned from Olympics's Common Areas

  • VOA  Sports

Australia's Channel Nine television has been banned from the Beijing Olympics common areas for a week for violating IOC rules on broadcasting rights.

A crew from Channel Nine, which does not have the rights to the Games, was inside the aquatics center as the Australian team prepared to train on Monday. Channel Nine had also met star swimmer Grant Hackett as he got off the team bus in an area open only to rights holders.

The IOC said the Nine Network's crews will not be permitted to enter the so-called Olympic Green Common Domain, an area outside the venues but inside the perimeter fences for rights holders. Non-rights holders such as Channel Nine can only gain access to the Olympic Green area through a daily pass, which allows them to videotape crowd movements and atmosphere from outside the venues.

Channel Nine can still attend daily news conferences with officials and athletes. Channel Nine's competitor - Channel Seven - has paid millions of dollars for the Australian broadcast rights to the Beijing Games.

Meanwhile, the South Korean broadcaster SBS - which videotaped and broadcast portions of the Opening Ceremonies rehearsal last week - will not be allowed to have cameras in the Bird's Nest Stadium for Friday's night's celebration.

The IOC said SBS - which shares the South Korean broadcasting rights for the Games - can still have access to a video signal and can have a commentator in the stadium for the ceremony. The Opening Ceremonies - directed by Chinese Oscar nominee Zhang Yimou - were a tightly guarded secret with three levels of security at the stadium and participants signing pledges not to reveal the content.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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