AIPS President Gianni Merlo said: "AIPS cannot accept the growing trend of federations and organizing committees making it almost impossible for freelance journalists or those not working for large media conglomerates to afford covering international events. Such is the case of the Gold Coast 2018, where journalists wishing to book accommodation that includes nine rooms or less, have to pay the full amount in advance - something nearly impossible for most."
The Congress put forward the statement that AIPS would be recommending alternative accommodation for its members, if a solution wasn't reached.
AIPS member and IAAF press commission member Elias Makori from Kenya explained that the GOLDOC 2018 accommodation policies had made it impossible for him and colleagues from Kenya's Daily Nation sports publication to apply for media accommodation. "In so many African Commonwealth countries, journalists do not get the funding for covering an event until just before its start, our employers do not have the budgeting for 2018 yet"
"This is an unfair policy that shows that the journalists' basic interests have not been kept in mind," Makori added.
2024 Bid Cities
AIPS President Gianni Merlo, who had been elected for his fourth term as president earlier in the day, also spoke about the outdated policy of the International Olympic Committee that had denied the bid cities for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games to attend the AIPS Congress in Korea and thus give more than 200 journalists the opportunity to hear first hand about what they have to offer.
"In the spirit of Agenda 2020, the IOC should open its doors to all international media, and accept the fact that not all journalists and media accross the world are able to travel to the IOC headquarters in Lausanne for the Coordination Commission or for Evaluation Commission visits in Los Angeles and Paris in this case," the AIPS President stated, adding that he had written to IOC President Thomas Bach about this issue directly.
FIFA Confederations Cup Russia
The final point on the Congress declaration focuses on the rights of journalists covering the upcoming FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia in June. Media have been presented with a document to sign that does not allow them to report on matters not connected to the event itself, or outside of the official tournament venues and cities.
"AIPS calls on FIFA and its Russian organisers to withdraw the restrictive clauses in the media's Terms and Conditions for the 2017 Confederations Cup and the 2018 World Cup. These are unnecessary and unacceptable restrictions on the freedom of the press and have no place in a modern society," the final point of the statement read.
The full Korea Declaration on journalist rights is below:
AIPS as the ultimate professional body representing the international sports media calls upon the organisers of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games to immediately amend its unfair and restrictive media accommodation policy.
Journalists intending to cover the 2018 Commonwealth Games are required to pay 100 per cent of their accommodation costs up front if booking nine rooms or fewer via the organising committee’s GOLDOC Accommodation Reservation System.
GOLDOC’s unacceptable accommodation policy discriminates against journalists and media organisations from less wealthy nations and favours large well-funded agencies and media conglomerates.
Unless this policy is not amended forthwith AIPS will recommend that members intending to cover the Games should seek alternative accommodation options.
AIPS also calls upon GOLDOC and the Commonwealth Games Federation to ensure that non-rights holder media covering the Games are provided with fair and adequate access to sources and are not restricted in their professional duties by unfair news access rules.
IOC ban on Candidate Cities making presentations to media
AIPS calls on the IOC to end its outdated policy of not allowing Olympic Games Candidate Cities to undertake presentations to media which including the 2024 Candidate Cities vis-a-vis the 80th AIPS Congress in Seoul.
We ask that following the spirit of President Thomas Bach’s Agenda 2020, the IOC should open its doors to the international media and allows Candidate Cities to present their projects appropriately.
Russian restrictions on World Cup media
AIPS calls on FIFA and its Russian organisers to withdraw the restrictive clauses in the media's Terms and Conditions for the 2017 Confederations Cup and the 2018 World Cup. These are unnecessary and unacceptable restrictions on the freedom of the press and have no place in a modern society.
by Sonja Nikcevic, AIPS Media