The power of FIFA in organising the world’s largest sporting event is hitting home to the media, which is subject to draconian requirements if media representatives want to be accredited for the event, according to www.moneyweb.co.za
Some of the media restrictions for media accreditation include:
1. Newspapers may not publish photographs or videos relating to the event on their websites – only copy may be transferred there
2. Reporters may not write about the hotels at which the soccer teams are staying
3. Newspapers may not be sold in a restricted area around the stadium, in a radius of about 800 meters
4. Whilst FIFA commits to guaranteeing freedom of speech, it has a clause that states that news organisations “may not bring Fifa into disrepute”.
“Freedom of press is guaranteed”, says FIFA’s Head of Media, Pekka Odriozola. “That is very important for us, and you will be able to cover the World Cup in the best possible conditions. We really work hard to have the best possible facilities, the best possible access to the teams, and the competition. I can tell you that the international press in general are always satisfied with the service because at the end of the day, we are servicing the media. Really, there is nothing to fear” he added.
FIFA came under fire in Germany for its media restrictions. It appears that the media simply ignored FIFA’s restrictions regarding positive reporting about FIFA, and no journalists appear to have been evicted in that country in 2006.
The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) says as follows: “It’s outrageous what Fifa is used to get away with. The tragedy though is the virtual absence of outrage by local media and editors on the violation of freedom of the press on such a scale.”
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com