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IPI concerned about legal conditions imposed on journalists seeking to cover the 2010 World Cup in South Africa

(IPI/IFEX) - The following is an IPI letter to FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter:

Mr. Joseph S. Blatter
President, FIFA
FIFA House
FIFA-Strasse 20,
8044 Zurich, Switzerland
Via Fax: +41 43 222 7878

Vienna, 25 July 2008

Dear Mr. Blatter,

The International Press Institute (IPI), the global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in over 120 countries, is concerned about the legal conditions imposed on journalists seeking to cover the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

According to information before IPI, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association ("FIFA") has set up a web-based service, the FIFA Media Channel, to provide the media with detailed information regarding the World Cup that will not be available on its public website. The terms and conditions regarding access to and use of the Extranet, the platform hosting the FIFA Media Channel, are extensive. The legal conditions are also subject to change without advance notice, with all changes binding on users and their media organizations as soon as these are posted on the Extranet.

Journalists applying for accreditation to cover FIFA events and competitions during the World Cup are required to register with this service. In other words, media organizations looking to report on one of the most significant international sporting events face the choice of either not doing so, or subjecting themselves to an agreement that requires waiving their right to advance notice of changes to the applicable conditions. This is an unacceptable limitation on access to information.

FIFA was strongly criticized for imposing unacceptable rules on journalists and media organizations covering the 2006 World Cup in Germany. I urge you to demonstrate your organization's willingness to respect the principle of press freedom by removing the link between accreditation and registration to the service, and engaging in open discussions with media representatives regarding the service agreement's overly broad terms.

Thank you for your kind attention.

Yours sincerely,

David Dadge

IPI, the global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists, is dedicated to the furtherance and safeguarding of press freedom, the protection of freedom of opinion and expression, the promotion of the free flow of news and information, and the improvement of the practices of journalism.

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