Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter and the Right to Freedom of Expression
37 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2021
Date Written: April 14, 2021
In recent times, the fundamental right to freedom of expression has come into light in the debates around private sporting contracts and the athletes’ enjoyment of the right to freedom of expression, such as the restrictions imposed upon participants of the Olympic Games, as encapsulated in Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter, which prohibits ‘any demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda’ at Olympic venues during the Olympic Games.
Freedom of expression, as contained in the civil and political right of ‘freedom of opinion and expression’, is a fundamental right enshrined in core international and regional human rights treaties, and national laws. However, a broader inspection and understanding into the treaties and constitutional jurisprudence would show that the right to freedom of expression is considerably limited, providing space for the realisation of other ‘legitimate aims’, such as the right to privacy and reputation, as well as the protection of other aspects of society, such as national security and public order, and prohibition against hate speech and war propaganda.
This paper seeks to provide a critical analysis of Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter as a private sporting contract within the wider international human rights framework, with focus on the right to freedom of expression. Primarily, this paper endeavours to convince its audience that Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter should not be appraised only within the vacuum of the right to free expression but also within the broader understanding of the said right, which includes well-established limitations to the said right under international and national laws. This paper will conclude that while Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter is reasoned within international and most national laws on the right to freedom of expression, there is room for Rule 50 to be reviewed and revised.
Keywords: HUMAN RIGHTS; INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS; RULE 50; OLYMPIC GAMES; OLYMPIC CHARTER; FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
JEL Classification: K00, K10, K19, K39, Z20, Z28, Z29
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation