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International media warns IRB


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International media organisations on Saturday issued a strong warning to sports event organisers over restrictions they have been accused of trying to enforce at showpiece tournaments.

Among those voicing their concerns are international news agencies such as Agence France Presse.

Their concern – which was also aimed at FIFA for last year’s World Cup which led to an easing on restrictions on information and photographs supplied to websites – was provoked by the International Rugby Board (IRB) trying to restrict their coverage of the World Cup which begins in France on September 7.

“They (the media) agreed that as the threat to press freedom was so serious the news media industry needs to ramp up an organised international campaign to bring about improved arrangements and defend the freedom of the press to report events without hindrance,” read a statement from the various media groups.

“The urgency of the meeting comes from the progressively tightening of controls on journalistic access and coverage at events and newsroom operations by event organisers including the International Rugby Board’s World Cup in France in September.

“In exchange for permission to attend a major sports event, journalists are often contractually, through accreditation terms and conditions, obliged to limit the timing and volume of reports, images and scores, especially during an event when the public appetite is greatest.

A statement issued on behalf of the meeting condemned the IRB and others, for failing to ‘recognise fully the direct contribution a free press makes to the public interest in their events and as well as the indirect value given to event partners such as sponsors’.


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