Though viewing its action with deep regret, the SA National Editors' Forum places on record its full support of international news agencies Reuters, Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Getty Images in suspending their news coverage of cricket matches, training sessions and associated commercial events in Australia in text, pictures and TV, according to a media release.

 

The agencies state that having been confronted with unacceptable accreditation terms for photographers and camera crews imposed by Cricket Australia, they have been forced to take this action which will have a deeply limiting effect on the public's ability to be informed about cricket events in Australia.

In announcing its decision to suspend coverage, Reuters states that press freedom and protecting the interests and coverage rights of its global client base is of key importance to it. “While it is our sincere wish to provide the world's media with premium, timely text, photographs and TV, freedom of the press, intellectual property (rights) and our editorial integrity are at the core of our business and these must be respected'', Reuters stated. Sanef fully supports those views.

Sanef notes with concern that New Zealand's two major newspaper media groups APN New Zealand and Fairfax NZ have signed the agreements “reluctantly and under duress'', according to their statement, and have thus been enabled to cover a two-match Test series in Australia. New Zealand Press Association, however, remained locked out of the first Black Caps test in Brisbane and its correspondent Mark Geenty was forced to cover the match from outside the ground so that the association could service its clients without breaching Cricket Australia's terms and conditions for media coverage. Sanef regards such pressures on news coverage as totally unacceptable.

Sanef is aware that South Africa's cricketers will be playing in Australia in December and that coverage by the SA media is likely to be seriously limited as a result of this unacceptable situation which has resulted in restrictions on media news coverage.

Sanef expresses its alarm at what has become only too apparent in the sports world. Sporting codes have gained control over highly lucrative sporting events such as the World Cup and international Rugby and Cricket. They have done so as a result of the work of the media in building up over many years those sports and events into world class major entertainments and crowd pullers. Now the sporting codes wish to impose restrictions and other measures designed to enable them to reap the lucrative benefits from the events while denying the media proper facilities for coverage.

Sanef calls on South African sporting codes to support the media in retaining its rightful place in the coverage of these major sports and also calls on world and national sporting administrators to remove the accreditation impediments and respect the media's editorial integrity and role in informing the public.

This statement is being sent to Cricket Australia, Reuters and the other news agencies, Fifa and the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee.

 

Issued by: SA National Editors' Forum (SANEF)

For further comment please contact:

Khathu Mamaila – SANEF Media Freedom Chairperson: 083 274 3941
Raymond Louw – SANEF Council Member: 011 646 8790 / 082 446 5155