Reuters banned from Pyeongchang Olympics opening ceremony for leaked photos of rehearsal

The International Olympic Committee has banned Reuters from covering the Feb 9 opening ceremony of the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.
The International Olympic Committee has banned Reuters from covering the Feb 9 opening ceremony of the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has banned Reuters from covering the Feb 9 opening ceremony of the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics after the London-based news agency filed several photos of a recent rehearsal without permission.

The company later pulled the items following protests from the IOC and the PyeongChang Winter Olympics organising committee.

The pictures show the Olympic cauldron being lit up with fire during a rehearsal conducted late Sunday (Jan 28) at the Olympic main stadium in Pyeongchang, reported Yonhap news agency.

At around 12.30 am on Jan 29, Reuters transmitted to its clients a series of pictures showing a flame being applied to an Olympic flame platform which is shaped like a traditional Korean dal hangari (moon jar). The image was deleted at 9.21 am after a protest from the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics organising committee.

As penalty, the IOC withheld the approval of media passes to Reuters for the opening ceremony.

The IOC also revoked the media accreditation of the photographer who took the pictures on Sunday.

The IOC also instructed the Chosun Ilbo, Hankook Ilbo, TV Chosun, and other news outlets that used the unauthorised Reuters pictures in their reports to delete the online articles and reports by 3 pm on Jan 29 and to put in place measures to prevent similar incidents from happening again.

Those that fail to comply will be denied access to the opening ceremony, reported Hankyoreh.

The opening and closing ceremonies of the quadrennial sporting event are customarily kept under comprehensive media embargoes.