Olympics OKs athlete blogs

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- Athletes will be allowed to continue writing blogs during Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said Wednesday.

However the IOC said it was considering a format for blogs that would protect privacy rights and freedom of expression and abide by the Olympic charter.

The phenomenal rise of blogs -- on-line journals of personal opinion or reflection -- and their growing sphere of influence beyond the small group they were initially intended for has alarmed the IOC, especially ahead of the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

China's human rights record is under increasing attack as the Games approach and bloggers, including athletes and team officials, are expected to be very active during the 16 days of the Games.

Technology has made it easier and faster to blog with on-line athletes' personal diaries on the rise during the last two Games, the 2004 Athens Olympics and the 2006 Turin Winter Games.

While the Olympic charter does not allow any person other than accredited journalists to act as reporters or "in any other media capacity", the IOC said blogging could continue without the need for a charter change.

"We are not against it in principle," IOC executive board member Sergey Bubka told reporters. "But we want to investigate it a little more.

"It is people wanting to express their opinion but there should be a certain rule by athletes participating in the Games and living in the (athletes') village," Bubka said.

IOC Director of Communications Giselle Davies said the issue was being discussed within the IOC but no final decision on the format had been taken.

"It is an open question. Everyone is giving their advice on this," she said.
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