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Paris 2024: IOC Updates Portrayal Guidelines for Gender-Equal Media Coverage

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has unveiled updated Portrayal Guidelines ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, aiming to ensure equitable and inclusive media coverage of athletes.

Under the guidelines, portrayal is defined as the “language (words and expressions), images and voices used, the quality and quantity of coverage and the prominence given, when depicting individuals or groups in communications and the media.” The guidelines are pivotal in promoting gender parity and fair representation across all forms of media and communication during the event.

Paris 2024 is set to be the first Olympic Games to achieve complete gender parity on the field of play. The revised guidelines build on previous versions dating back to 2018, incorporating updated examples and references to foster more inclusive and respectful sports coverage. They emphasise portraying athletes based on their competitive achievements rather than non-sports-related aspects like physical appearance or personal lives, which historically overshadowed women’s athletic prowess.

Key provisions include suggestions to ensure the adoption of gender-equal and fair portrayal practices, and checklists covering content, imagery, words, and voices. Further, the annexe offers definitions, language practices, and considerations for respectful coverage of transgender, non-binary participants, and athletes with sex variations. This annexe aligns with the IOC’s broader framework on Fairness, Inclusion, and Non-Discrimination issued in 2021.

The IOC stresses the importance of balanced reporting across platforms such as print, digital, radio, and broadcast. These efforts aim to shift public perception and cultivate diverse role models within sports.

The updated Portrayal Guidelines exemplify the IOC’s proactive approach to promoting fair and inclusive media practices,  which are essential for enhancing the visibility and recognition of athletes regardless of gender, race, or background at the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics.