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Panpa Bulletin : February 2010
www.panpa.org.au Press freedom under world of FIFA pressure ORAGNISER of the football World Cup, FIFA, has sought to resassure the news media that press freedom is safe for the South African tourna- ment, beginning in May. But not everyone is convinced. With less than three months to go before the World Cup kicks-off, FIFA took the unusual step of issu- ing a statement to insist the purpose of accreditation contracts which govern journalist attendance, and the use of news material, was "not, and has never been, to restrict press freedom". This was in reaction to attempts by the South African news media to challenge specific wording of the rules on access. It is part of a wider effort by the industry to ensure that the World Cup coverage is not hampered by unnecessary restrictions on print and digital operations. Even further afield, these anxieties are part of international concerns that event organisations, and in particular sporting codes, are not moving with the times. In South Africa, where the hango- ver of the apartheid era continues to have an impact on attitudes to press freedom, editors there have jumped on FIFA accreditation wording which prevents the media from engaging in "activities which could compromise public safety and/or harm the reputation of the FIFA World Cup, as assessed at the sole discretion" of FIFA or the local organising committee. The argument goes that this restriction extends to both investi- gative reporting and comment or analysis which may be critical of the FIFA World Cup. The FIFA statement pointed out it had had joint consultations with the key stakeholders from the inter- national press, including the World Association of Newspapers, of which PANPA is a member. It said: "The purpose of the media accreditation terms and conditions is to regulate the behaviour of peo- ple entering the 2010 FIFA World Cup venues, first and foremost to ensure the safety of everyone in those venues. "The purpose is not, and has never been, to restrict press freedom. FIFA would like to make it clear that it does respect the freedom of the press." The FIFA statement added that new wording had been introduced to reassure the press that "nothing in the terms and conditions is intended to be, or shall be interpreted as restricting or undermining the edi- torial independence or freedom to report and comment of Accredited Parties." But FIFA rules in other respects remain the subject of concern for news media organisations, including those in Australia. One in particular -- mobile news. While FIFA has amended its re- strictions to allow for action pictures which appear on websites to be browsed by mobile devices, those same images cannot be used within editorial picture news services which are sent directly to mobiles. This stipulation comes at a time when newspapers and news agen- cies -- and indeed many sporting or- ganisations themselves -- are rolling out news services to mobile phones and taking advantage of innovations such as iPhone applications. Some South African media believe such a prohibition in a country that relies so greatly on mobile commu- nications is unconstitutional. In Australia, it's also the must-have method of news delivery and one which serves consumer choice and evolving habits in accessing news. NEWSPAPER publishers and news agen- cies are currently deep in negotiations over press freedoms in sports coverage in Australia. We might be getting close to a resolu- tion, having been asked by the Federal Government to work with the regulator, the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC), to come to an agree- ment with the key sports bodies. So far, we have met twice. Our next meeting is due on March 5. An optimist might suggest that's when we'll wrap it all up. Maybe. The meetings have been interesting, and the sports bodies have been clear about what they want to protect -- the intellectual property of what happens on a sports field so they can monetise it. They see coverage by newspaper pub- lishers, especially in digital formats, as undermining their commercial position -- a claim publishers don't accept; certainly not at the expense of a free press operating in an important area of society. Limits of how many photos can go on a website; how many times you can update the score, and so on are pretty typical of the restrictions. Others are more fundamental, like the reuse of press photography and who owns or shares that copyright. The arguments are more complex and specific but that's the gist of it. New Zea- land publishers have just been through similar hoops with their national cricket administration. These types of conversations occur the world over right now; yet we must continue to fight for press freedoms wherever they are threatened. To give in will deny our readers, and the public at large, a legitimate right to follow their sports and their teams. Freedom for sports reporting not settled Mark Hollands Images cannot be used within editorial picture news services (for) ... mobiles" " drew Moger Director, News Media Coalition The biggest sports event on the planet -- the FIFA World Cup . . . news organisations have been fighting for press freedoms so our readers get the truth, not just the gloss PRESSURE continues on Ameri- ca's former top-selling newspaper, USA Today. Suffering a drop of 10.5 percent in its ad space in the last quarter of 09, the Gannett-owned daily has told staff they must take a week of unpaid leave. A salary freeze would continue for at least another three months, an internet memo from publisher David Hunke said. "No one will be permitted to work while on furlough, and no one will be exempt, except for business necessity," Mr Hunke wrote. "That means when you are on furlough, there is no work, no office phone calls, no voice mail, no e-mail and no PDA checking. "Exempt, salaried employees must take one full payroll week within the pay period. Non-exempt, hourly employees can take five days at any pre-approved time." Late last year, USA Today lost its No.1 seller spot to the Wall St Journal. It has been badly affected by the US recession. Much of its circulation was given away at hotels and airports, which have experienced significant down- turns in usage. This has caused the business model of USA Today to suffer even more dramatically than competitors with traditional business models. Staff forced to take holidays USA Today . . . forced holidays for staff Visit websend.com.au to download the new and improved FREE iQChaser application or call 1300 798 949 for a demonstration. amline your ad workflow process with one simple application aser is simple, multi-user platform software that streamlines and complements the day-to-day ad production environment. FREE TO ALL PUBLISHERS Did you miss it? Camera crazy EVERY reporter on 170 newspapers, in- cluding 19 dailies, is being given a video camera at America's Journal-Register Co. They have been told by their new CEO, John Paton, they now work for a "media company" not a "newspaper company". Among the company's newspapers is the Chicago Tribune. 6 | The PANPA Bulletin | MARCH 2010