Newsletter No 7 22 November 2005
 
News from the Media Scene:
Sports Coverage Restrictions Concern World's Publishers

The World Association of Newspapers criticized on 15 November restrictions imposed by sports events organizers on the use of photographs by newspapers, saying the restrictions "inhibit the free flow of information and the rights of newspapers to practice their profession."

"In the name of protecting lucrative licensing agreements, sports organizations have been placing needless restrictions on digital photography as a condition of allowing newspaper photographers to cover the games, endangering the right of newspapers to inform their readers and limiting coverage of important events," the Board of WAN said in a resolution approved during its meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The resolution said:

"The Board of the World Association of Newspapers, meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 15 November, deplores the increasing restrictions imposed by sports event organizers on the use of photographs by newspapers.
"In the name of protecting lucrative licensing agreements, sports organizations have been placing needless restrictions on digital photography as a condition of allowing newspaper photographers to cover the games, endangering the right of newspapers to inform their readers and limiting coverage of important events.

"The world football body FIFA, for example, will require newspapers to delay posting photos of 2006 World Cup matches on their web sites until one hour after the matches end. An even greater intrusion into the editorial process is the requirement that newspapers publish photographs unaltered in the paper except for cropping, effectively banning the common newspaper practice of putting text on photos.

"FIFA is not alone. Global sports organizations for sports from cricket to golf have imposed or are considering imposing similar restrictions, all in the name of "protecting" their commercial rights programs.

"The Board of WAN reminds FIFA and other sports organizations that commercial contracts should not be used to limit the role that newspapers uniquely play in bringing information to the public.

"The Board also reminds sports organizations that such restrictions inhibit the free flow of information and the rights of newspapers to practice their profession.

"The Board of WAN calls on FIFA and other sports organizations to reconsider such restrictions and rescind them where they have already been employed.

"In the face of such restrictions on print and digital publication, the World Association of Newspapers also advises all publishers and editors to examine very carefully the terms that their reporters and photographers are being asked to agree to as a condition of their accreditation."

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