FIFA stops newspapers doing Internet and mobile video packages.
FIFA rights restrictions, which are at the centre of a major row between the South African National Editors' Forum (SANEF) and the Zurich-based organisation, include prohibition on newspapers to do video packages for their websites. Newspapers will also not publish pictures on to their mobile platforms, but simply push in text.
SANEF member Raymond Louw told Bizcommunity.com that FIFA's restrictions are meant to protect its rights, brand name, profit-making and status of the games, and the rights of sponsoring companies, including broadcasters' exclusive rights. However, he said: "This cannot be done at the expense of journalists and publications and broadcasters, which forfeit their rights [to impart information]."
Another journalist said: "To sacrifice a nation's press freedom in the name of commercial interests is nothing but a dictator's mentality which consists of putting his or her own interests at the expense of the information-hungry majority."
Both journalists spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation. Since the beginning of the saga, many journalists have been silent, scared that FIFA will deny them accreditation if they were to speak out against these restrictions. FIFA warned all news organisations against bringing it into disrepute, and this simply means engaging into a conduct that 'negatively affects the public standing of the Local Organising Committee or FIFA'.
FIFA spokesperson Delia Fischer ignored Bizcommunity.com's repeated requests for comment and did not reply to Bizcommunity emails, and several messages left on her answering machine were also ignored by the time of going to press.