Commonwealth Games media boycott grows as media companies object to conditions

Dissatisfaction with media reporting conditions has spread to an outright boycott of next year’s Commonwealth Games by Fairfax and News Corporation, with both companies stating they will not seek formal accreditation with the Games’ organisers.

On Monday, The Australian published a story stating News Corp would not be accrediting journalists for the games and Fairfax followed the move yesterday.

“We will not be signing up for Commonwealth Games 2018 accreditation under the current terms and rules required,” a Fairfax spokesperson told Mumbrella yesterday.

In previous disputes, News Corp have made good on threats over such restrictions with the company not seeking accreditation for the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cups and the 2011 Cricket World Cup in India.

The concerns around the accreditation rules – which one industry observer described as “antiquated” and “not realistic for a digital age” –  revolve around the conditions imposed by the Commonwealth Games organising committee.

Among those rules are conditions that require digital content to be taken down after 24 hours, a 30-minute delay for broadcasting media conference content and a maximum of three digital news bulletins a day.

The latter condition, also known as 3x3x3 rule, requires that no more than a total of three minutes of video coverage a day can be used, which further restricts reporting of events.

Journalists are also restricted in interviewing people within the Games precincts, regardless of whether the journalist themselves is in the restricted zone.

In response, Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation CEO, Mark Peters, issued a statement to Mumbrella saying:  “The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) has noted that the current advice from News Corporation suggests that they will not be seeking media accreditation for GC2018 because of the News Access Rules.

“The News Access Rules provide little restriction on media interviewing athletes, and no restrictions on writing stories and capturing still imagery. Full access to video and audio content is however limited to the Broadcast Rights Holder, which in Australia is Channel 7.

“This is in accordance with the obligations of the Host City Contract with the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) where only those organisations (Rights Holding Broadcasters or RHBs) that have purchased the commercial rights have the right to broadcast video and audio content of GC2018. This is consistent with all recent Commonwealth Games as well as other major international sporting events (including the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games).

“GOLDOC is bound by this contract that the Commonwealth Games Federation entered into with the Seven Network in 2014.

“The CGF and GOLDOC are continuing to identify opportunities for accredited media organisations to maximise their coverage by identifying a range of content opportunities, including the provision of enhanced event coverage and access to athletes and officials.”

Seven declined to answer Mumbrella’s request for comment.


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