By Gianni Merlo, AIPS President
LAUSANNE, April 17, 2015 – Unfortunately the IOC’s Agenda 2020 has not given any thought to the problems faced by the media, a very important branch of the Olympic movement. For this reason during the AIPS congress last month in Paris we took the opportunity to remind the president Thomas Bach that in the most difficult time of the double boycott, especially in 1980, the media has saved the Olympic movement. But it looks that everybody prefers to forget this.
Forgotten – The Agenda 2020 positively introduced new criteria to save resources and money for the NOCs and the organizers in general. This was a positive and important step, but for the media the costs to attend and cover the Olympic Games have almost doubled! We look as if we are the children of a lesser God. We do not want any special privileges, only access to fair prices.
Crazy cost – In Rio de Janeiro the cost for media of a room in the Village is not acceptable: USD 254 per night. We give an example from the past: Beijing 2008, where a room cost USD 125 per night. We can confirm this amount because it is what AIPS paid. The numbers speak for themselves. The small regional newspapers are the pillars of the promotion of sport, but for many of them now, the Olympic Games have become a forbidden paradise.
Untruths and business – We sincerely hope that the IOC can understand our point of view and that it will take some steps to help the media in this difficult situation. The organizers of Rio de Janeiro 2016 through their Rate Card are seeking high fees for Internet access. It seems we are still in the last century and I respectfully underline that this is unacceptable, and we are sure that IOC can understand why. The Rio organizers, in a presentation made at our Congress in Milan 2009, promised free Internet. They were hiding their real projects. They were speaking about a Media Village for more than 18.000 people at the price of 150 dollars per room. This project has fallen through. Why? The new village, smaller, and built by a friendly new company cost 40% more, but the organizers are asking the media to pay the full amount of money one year before so they can also speculate with our money. It is unacceptable.
Discrimination – There is another issue that we wish to bring to your attention. Some NOCs continue to discriminate against our colleagues with the distribution of the Olympic accreditations. We propose that to avoid this unpleasant situation the IOC invites the individual NOCs to consult with the AIPS member National Sports Journalists’ Associations before setting the final accreditation list. We know and we appreciate very much the good work that the IOC office has done to avoid media accreditations being issued to non-media associates of certain NOC officials. There still however are some problems to solve, and AIPS is willing to cooperate with the IOC in the name of transparency.
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