Russian flag
© Sputnik / Grygory Sysoev
The same restrictions apply to spectators and sports fans attending the Summer Games in Paris

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has banned journalists covering this year's Summer Games in Paris from displaying national symbols of Russia and Belarus, TASS reported on Friday, citing a spokesman for the organization.

Russian and Belarusian athletes are allowed to participate in the Olympics only under neutral status this year. The spokesman noted that under the IOC guidelines, this means they will be prohibited from displaying any national symbols, including the national flag, the state emblem, any military symbols, the colors of the St. George ribbon, or playing the national anthem.
"The same applies for media personnel, as well as for all spectators, as specified in the document," the spokesman was cited as saying.
The IOC initially banned Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing internationally following the outbreak of the Ukraine conflict in February 2022. In December last year, however, the body removed the blanket ban and ruled that a limited number of individuals from the two countries could take part in the Olympics under a neutral flag. The Russian and Belarusian teams remained prohibited, and the body said that Russian state officials will not be invited to the games.

The IOC also placed a range of restrictions for qualifying. For instance, athletes who have publicly supported Moscow's military operation or are somehow linked to the Russian military would not be allowed to take part in the Games.

In March, the IOC announced that the maximum number of Russians who can qualify for the Paris Olympics is 55, while Belarus is limited to 28 athletes. It also said that athletes from either country will not be allowed to take part in the traditional parade at the opening ceremony of the Olympics. It is expected to be an open-air event with athletes travelling on boats down the River Seine for several kilometers toward the Eiffel Tower.

Moscow has criticized the restrictions placed on its athletes by the IOC. In March, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the IOC's measures targeting Russian athletes are "absolutely contrary" to the ideology of the Olympic movement and are "destroying Olympic ideals."