WAN takes World Cup concerns to Fifa

By Jean Morgan

A delegation from the World Association of Newspapers has opened
belated talks with Fifa, the international football association, on
concerns about potential limits on newspaper coverage of the 2006 World
Cup.

The main worry for publishers is their right to publish photos on newspaper web sites.

Fifa,
and many other sports organisations, have begun introducing terms and
conditions for coverage of events that limit the number and the timing
of photographs that newspapers can publish on their web sites. New
accreditation terms for publishers were due to be sent out by Fifa late
this week.

The rules for the Confederations Cup and World Cup
draw banned internet publication of images until two hours after the
final whistle, and then only allowed single still images (no sequences)
to be published. The same rules are likely to be proposed for the World
Cup in Germany next year.

Fifa told the delegation that the
approach by WAN had come very late in the day since terms had been
sorted out long ago, but it is taking on board the anxieties of the
publishers. Another meeting has been arranged – to include legal
advisers – later in the year.

“WAN finds that international
sports event organisers are increasingly introducing unreasonably
restrictive conditions for the normal exploitation by newspapers of
images and text in their electronic media,” said Timothy Balding,
director general of the World Association of Newspapers. “We believe
these conditions are an infringement on the free access to information,
and we are determined to defend and promote the interests of newspaper
publishers.”

Steve Oram, the director of the UK Newspaper
Publishers Association, led the delegation. He said: “We welcome the
opening of dialogue with Fifa. We look forward to a further exchange of
views on newspaper publisher concerns about the requirements that must
be met to ensure that the needs and interests of readers can be
reconciled with Fifa’s practical considerations.”

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