Broadcasters threaten legal action over Olympics access

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The Independent Online

International broadcasters are threatening legal action against organisers of the Sydney 2000 Olympics if access to Games venues was restricted solely to rights holders.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported today that some broadcasters planned to take SOCOG and the International Olympic Committee to court if they were denied access to film in public areas outside Games venues.

SOCOG was considering proposed regulations, aimed at bolstering security and preventing overcrowding the main Olympic precinct at Homebush Bay, which would limit access to public areas around Olympic venues.

The Herald reported that media organizations would challenge Australia's position as a signatory to the World Trading Organisation if they were not allowed access to film in public areas.

The report came in the wake of comments from IOC vice president Dick Pound that the bad news coming out of Sydney was media hype and political grandstanding.

With 150 days before the September 15 opening ceremony, Sydney appears mired in trouble - from ticketing controversies to labour disputes to budget problems to threats of violent protests by Aboriginals.

These issues and others will be addressed when SOCOG makes its latest progress report to the IOC executive board in Lausanne on Tuesday.

But Pound said the IOC had nothing to be worked up about and that media reports about sponsorship unrest, protests and financial problems were either exaggerated or wide of the mark.