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Ny ledelse i AIPS

Onsdag d. 25. maj 2005

Association Internationale de la Presse Sportive (AIPS)

Media communication

GIANNI MERLO is the 8th President of the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) following the elections held at the 68th AIPS Congress held in Marrakech 12-14 May, 2005. GIANNI MERLO who succeeds Togay Bayatli (Turkey) was unanimously elected by the 86 members associations, with 60 preferences.
The other candidate for the post was Alain Lunzenfichter (France).

Addressing the Congress soon after his election, GIANNI MERLO mentioned the priorities to be implemented during his mandate. He made reference to the comments made at the Official Opening of the Congress by Dr. Adolf Ogi, Special Advisor of the United Nations General Secretary where in the process of the peace the role of the sport media is imperative. AIPS President stressed that as the year 2005 is the ‘International year of Physical Education and Sport’, AIPS will be doing its utmost to give priority to developing countries besides improving the world-wide recognition of the sport media. Gianni Merlo made also reference to the role of the media in the social aspect of sport as well as the importance of facing the fast growing technological development to the benefit of the world sport media.

This is the Program submitted to the Congress for the next four years: a Challenge for the future

The new AIPS leadership will face a heavy workload with very clear objectives to achieve. Teamwork, in the true meaning of the word will be necessary. In recent years, the colleagues who have directed our organisation have consolidated its financial base. Now we have to activate this working capital in order to make AIPS suitable for the times and the
requests coming from the base. There are three directions in which we must move - defence of professional rights, communication and culture, as well as services.

Professional rights - the so-called access to sources such as the relationship with athletes both the day before and at the end of a competition, has become increasingly difficult for the written media. The problems occurred on these occasions have become untenable and, for this reason, more decisive and widespread intervention with the international federations and the IOC is required so that acceptable working conditions and the transparency of the quotas of accredited people are ensured. We don't ask for special privileges but only the chance to provide our readers and all our users with correct and thorough information. It is fundamental
to create the correct scenario to strengthen our Commissions and Continental Associations - those who work directly in the field - to obtain concrete results. The system of election of the Commissions needs reviewing and this need was also underlined during the Commissions’ Seminar held in Budapest at the beginning of April. The Continental Associations should be in a position to operate actively to co-ordinate the different areas. The field in which we must move is so large that everyone’s commitment is necessary to achieve success. It's not
enough to delegate tasks only to some colleagues, but the effort of individuals and National Associations alike will be needed.

We do not accept the division of journalists into categories A and B with different credits, as is sometimes the intention of some international federations. There is only one right to information. In our world there are no children of a lesser God. All professional journalists and photographers have the right to the same recognition. The position of some freelancers,
fundamental for communication in some sports, and those who work on the Internet, should be studied carefully. Another pressing subject concerns female colleagues who are increasing in numbers in our field and who are often still discriminated. An ad hoc commission dedicated to this area should certainly be created and, in summer, we will have to send a delegation of female colleagues to the female Islamic Games which are
planned in Iran.

Communication and culture - The Web site should be strengthened to make it
a real journalistic point of reference. It shouldn't just become a news service concerning the life of the Association, but it should also stimulate debates on more important topics. It must also be the mirror of the actual situation. A judgement on the working conditions in different
international competitions should appear immediately on the site. It must
become a reference for everyone.

The level of specialist and general culture must be improved and, therefore the opportunities for an exchange of opinions and experience must be increased through seminars and congresses on different topics. In addition to the IOC and the international federations, the European Union and UNESCO, for example, could be partners in cultural operations.

Services - The AIPS card should ensure some services in addition to priority and access to international events. Up to now, we have never entered into relations with the international federations and IOC when the prices for accommodation in hotels and transport of the organisational committees are set. In future, we need to have a more active role in the negotiations, because the costs are strangling the opportunity for many colleagues to take part directly in the events. The reduction of the number of journalists leads to an
impoverishment of the freedom of expression and this is a situation to be avoided. Some National Associations have succeeded in obtaining discounts on hotel tariffs and air travel. This engagement should be extended as far as possible as, when it is more extensive, it will ensure concrete benefits to our members.

The idea of collaborating in the publication of the programme of competitive events for the year arose during discussions with the managers of ‘Infostrada’. Currently available at 25 Euros, in this way it would be free for our members together with a book containing all the most important results of the year. As a test, this year Infostrada will ensure us 3,000 copies of the programme-book for 2006 and, for 2007, we will be able to sign an agreement which provides the supply of the two books. Such an operation would guarantee we have an important information tool for our work.

Final considerations

1) We are opposed to the idea proposed by a few people of setting an age limit on the managerial activities of our Association. Experience is fundamental and it is the responsibility of the National Associations and the Assembly to decide when a colleague is no longer able to carry out his/her work positively, just because our category is very particular. But
this does not mean raising barriers against young people.
2) We are opposed to the organisation of the Congress every two years, as has been suggested, because the strength of the meeting of our Association lies in current events. However, the format of the Congress needs to be modified and it should be turned into a true journalistic event with seminars and debates with the presence of sports managers and
3) The AIPS executive must stimulate the activity of Continental Associations and Commissions and the relationship must not be limited to the provision of a financial contribution. The Continental Associations and Commissions work in the field and therefore need to be able to operate with the full support of the central AIPS.

The newly elected AIPS Executive Committee for 2005-2009 is the following:

President: Gianni Merlo (Italy)
First Vice President: Carlos Garcia (Canada)
General Secretary: Charles Camenzuli (Malta)
Deputy General Secretary: Esat Yilmaer (Turkey)
Treasurer: Jorge Ribeiro (Portugal)
Vice Presidents: Yannis Theodorakopoulos (Greece)
Faisal al Qanai (Kuwait)
Laima Janusonyte (Lithuania)
Nickolai Dolgopolov (Russia)
Manoucher Zandi (Iran)
Members: Yaoming Gu (China)
Jaber Al Harami (Qatar)
Hans -Joachim Zwingmann (Germany)
Obi Mitchell (Nigeria)
Aderson Maia Nogueira (Brazil)
Emanuel Fantaneanu (Romania)

GIANNI MERLO – born in Vigevano, Italy 16.04.1947, began his journalistic career in 1967 with the magazine ‘ Atletica Leggera’ following which he became contributor to the Italian leading newspapers ‘Il Giorno’ , ‘La Gazzetta del Popolo’ and ‘Corriere dello Sports – Stadio’. Following television experience with the Italian-Swiss and RAI national network, in 1974 started his career with ‘Gazzetta dello Sport’ where he now holds the office of head of the athletics, winter sports and Olympic department.
He has covered 16 Olympic Games and was present at more than 30 World Championships and European Championships in athletics and skiing.
Has been Chairman of the AIPS Athletics Specialist Commissions since 1986 and UEPS President from 1984-1988. Since 2004 has been chairman of the IAAF Press Commission.

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