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AIPS Europa

Lørdag d. 4. oktober 2014

AIPS EUROPE : media communication


On October 7, the AIPS EUROPE, the European section of AIPS (the International Sports Press Association) will defend a petition to the Committee of Petitions of the European Parliament in Brussels. The intention of the petition is to safeguard the freedom to report on sports events.

In recent years, there have been several incidents, mostly but not exclusively involving radio, clearly showing that the right to inform is under threat. A few examples:

In 2011 all French radios dropped coverage of Manchester United – Olympique Marseille, after Manchester United demanded € 26,000 from each French radio station wishing to cover the game, even though English radio stations were able to report on Olympique Marseille – Manchester Utd free of charge.
Organizers and marketing agencies increasingly see the press as willing cash cows. At Milan-San Remo (marketed by IMG on behalf of organizer RCS), prices for facilities (such as commentary positions) doubled from one year to the next, under the false claim that “standards had improved”. They had not. Race organizers should not forget that their events are taking place in the public domain (public streets), so how can they claim ownership and impose all sorts of access fees?

The UCI forces radios (broadcasting news updates only) to pay €250 to have access to the press center during the 2014 Road World Cycling Championships. In 2013, the UCI and and its media rights agency “Infront” even tried to impose an access fee on non-rights holders to enter the mixed zone for post-race interviews.
In 2014, the Pro League (First Division in Belgian football) banned non-rights holders TV (including regional televisions) from working in the mixed zone, effectively stopping them from interviewing players after a match. They are allowed to use reactions from the official match feed only, effectively forcing them to pay for interviews over which they have no editorial control .

For the written press on the continent, it is virtually impossible to get an accreditation for Premier League games. Why does a journalist need to sign a 13 page contract in order to receive an accreditation? And why does an application need to be submitted with “a copy of the organization’s public liability insurance cover note for a minimum amount of £ 5 million”?

These cases show a growing disrespect for the origins of all these great events, many of which were created by the press in the first place. But first and foremost, media should be allowed to inform. Our petition does not seek to put a stop to the principle of media rights. We don’t dispute charges for commentary facilities either, but they should be fair. But above all, we want to protect news access, access to mixed zones and the right to inform.

Ioannis Daras,
President AIPS Europe - Vice President AIPS
Journalist – Attorney at Law, LLB, PhD
ioannisdaras@ioannisdaras.gr, +30 6981 68 1616


For more information, please contact:
David Naert, AIPS Europe Executive Committee Member: +32 475 36 36 42, david.naert@sportspress.be, @Davidnaert1
Jean-Paul Savart, AIPS Executive Committee Member : +33 6 27 77 29 62, jpsavart@gmail.com

Ioannis Daras, Jean-Paul Savart and David Naert will be available in the European Parliament on October 7 to answer your questions