Italy’s national football team, currently competing in the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, is charging news companies for video operations at press conferences, an action that has been slammed by publishers and news agencies.
Television news agencies, which provide video content to thousands of broadcasters and online sites, are essentially being charged fees to carry out their job.
The Newspaper Works CEO Mark Hollands said that he supports those condemning the Italian Football Federation for charging media organisations filming press conferences.
“Charging for pressers goes against the grain of what the press is and does,” he said.
“It jeopardises press freedom, limits the content available to audiences and is not in the interest of media outlets, football fans or the general public. The more noise that is made about this issue the better because it must be stopped before it becomes an alarming trend.”
News Media Coalition executive director Andrew Moger said, “charging for creating news is an assault on press freedom. A press conference, especially one involving a national side, is by its very nature an open press event.”
“In fact, the function of news agencies providing text and photographs or news video serve the interests of the team, its sponsors and the public through their established distribution networks and therefore exposure of the team, partners and players.”
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) secretary general Larry Kilman said, “it is unacceptable to ask news media to pay to cover legitimate news events.”
“News agencies, newspapers and other media are the representatives of the public at these events and efforts to monetise their access will reduce press coverage and ultimately harm both football fans who rely on independent coverage and the teams themselves.”
The commercialisation of the press conference by the Italian Football Federation was raised as a serious concern earlier this week at the World Newspaper Congress, in Turin, Italy where more than 1,000 chief editors, publishers, CEOs, managing directors and other senior newspaper and news publishing executives were gathered to consider industry issues.
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