The Olympics Issues New Guidelines For Journalists Covering Trans Athletes In Paris

The Olympics Issues New Guidelines For Journalists Covering Trans Athletes In Paris

All over the world, athletes, viewers, and journalists are gearing up for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris (July 26 – Aug 11). This year around 10,500 athletes will compete in the games, and that’s a lot of ground to cover for reporters who are working the events. 

Recently, the International Olympics Committee (IOC) released the newest edition of the Portrayal Guidelines, which act as a general guide for journalistic conduct and language when reporting on the games. 

The Portrayal Guidelines opens by stating: “Sports coverage plays an important role in shaping gender norms and stereotypes and promoting new positive, diverse role models. However, there are still some fundamental differences in how sportswomen and women’s sports are portrayed in comparison to that of men.” 

“Aside from having less exposure and therefore less visibility, sportswomen receive coverage which has a tendency to focus on non-sport related characteristics, such as physical appearance, clothing, and personal lives and to have their achievements marked by their gender or gender role,” the guide continues. 

The release then goes on to give pointers on how reporters can write with a focus on sport instead of gender. It encourages journalists to make sure they are checking themselves for misogyny and prejudice while they are writing about the games. The IOC poses questions such as: “Are you using descriptive words and expressions that can apply to anyone? Are women and minority voices speaking for themselves? How are you framing your questions and storytelling? Consider if they are gender-driven or sport-driven.”

The guidelines also cover the portrayal of transgender athletes, and calls on reporters to be “fair, inclusive and non-discriminatory.” The IOC asks the media to take extra care when interviewing, commentating, or reporting on transgender and non-binary people in sports to prevent discrimination. 

Many out LGBTQ+ athletes are competing in the games this year, making it imperative that reporters take an unbiased approach when covering the Paris Olympics.

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