Journalists covering the Tokyo Games have been warned to follow the rules or they could find themselves ‘exposed’ on social media.
Despite initially promising British reporters, photographers and broadcasters would be able to work from arrival in Tokyo, rules were recently changed because of concerns over the Delta variant of the coronavirus in the UK.
For the three days they’ll effectively be quarantined in their accommodation and not allowed to interact with anyone from another country.
British-based media will need to complete up to five Covid tests before travelling and then undergo a daily testing regime on arrival in the Olympic capital.
Last month media were told they could only stay in approved hotels and will only be allowed to travel to Games venues on official transport, with runs or walks banned for the first 14 days.
With the exception of visits to pre-approved ‘convenience stores’, media will not be allowed to eat in restaurants for the first two weeks of their stay – using official venue catering or delivery apps.
“If you are identified walking outside, the security guards will ask you to stay in your room, and you must follow their instruction,” read a Tokyo 2020 media advisory.
“The people of Japan will be paying close attention to your every move as you participate in the Games.
“In the unlikely event that you are suspected or found to be infringement of the rules [the Playbook], such activity may be photographed and shared on social media by bystanders.”
For all you hacks coming to Tokyo. Here is the press work room at Tokyo 2020, located in the cavernous Big Sight center. pic.twitter.com/8BzjVyhmYH
— Stephen Wade (@StephenWadeAP) June 30, 2021
Security guards will patrol hotels with media required to fill in a ‘Going Out Record’ when they leave. In addition, a condition of entry will include the installation of a tracking app on mobile phones. Each media delegation will need to appoint a Covid liaison officer and file a 14-day ‘activity plan’ that must be approved before travelling by the Japanese government.
“Please keep the GPS function of your smartphone turned on at all time during the duration of your stay in Japan, including your stay at the hotel,” added the press advisory.
“If you are asked for your location information and are unable to share it – for example, as a result of undercharging or unintentionally turning off your smart phone – you may be considered in violation.”
Some media organisations have reduced the size of their reporting teams, while organisers have cut media capacity at venues by 50 percent.
The International Olympic Committee have released a series of ‘Playbooks’ to advise travelling media, with each iteration becoming increasingly stricter with the rules.
Earlier this year a poll found 81 percent of the Japanese public didn’t want the Games staged this summer, with government strongly criticised for the agonisingly slow start to their vaccine roll out.
However, the most recent poll showed a significant softening of this sentiment, with the opening ceremony of the Games now just over three weeks away.