SA media and Fifa in rights stand-off

2009-11-25 13:03

Football governing body Fifa and South African media are locked in

a standoff over restrictive terms and conditions imposed by Fifa on journalists

and their publications, Business Day reported today.

At issue is a clause in the accreditation agreement that binds

publications to the same rules as those that bind their reporters attending

matches or official Fifa events. According to another clause behaviour harmful

to Fifa and the local organising committee’s image can be punished by summary

withdrawal of accreditation.

There is also concern over a clause allowing Fifa to revoke the

accreditation of a reporter and his or her publication without discussion and

without any mechanism to address the “breach” that caused the withdrawal of the

application.

The first clause would prohibit normal coverage of a news event at

a team hotel, such as a labour strike.

There is concern the second clause would prevent critical reporting

of the World Cup and its organisation.

The SA National Editors Forum (Sanef) is negotiating with Fifa over

the points of conflict in the accreditation agreement. Sanef representative

Raymond Louw said some sort of agreement was possible.

This could include the addition of words saying normal editorial

practice would prevail in cases of reporting that was potentially critical of

Fifa. It also appears the media will have to sign agreements before they have

seen the codes of conduct.

Part of the problem is that media institutions have to sign up to

the media channel of Fifa’s website. Once this is done they are bound by Fifa’s

rules even before they have seen the terms and conditions.

Another bone of contention is the sending of pictures to

cellphones.

Comment was not immediately available from the local organising

committee, the publication reported.

 

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