Allegedly, AHEM... cough ... cough ..., according to Ms. Gill Moodie, the South African media have fought, and will fight, for freedom of the press. They arn't afraid of taking on FIFA. Ha, Ha.. this is so funny....
The SA media are petrified of taking on themselves, their own hypocrisy and lies about the Lies and Hypocrisy of the alleged 'Rainbow Nation' is; but they are ready and armed to take on FIFA, an organisation that makes the Sicilian mafia look like a housewives tupperwear teaparty.
Given reporters' penchant for proclaiming to "tell both sides," to render all the news that's fit to print, to answer who? what? where? when? and why?, this leads naturally to the question: Why do reporters avoid the population issue so steadfastly?
FIFA have a significant portion of the South African media by the short and curlies; cause FIFA knows that as corrupt as FIFA may be, much of the SA media don't really have a leg to stand on calling FIFA corrupt: Its the pot calling the Kettle black.
Having experienced the South African media: (SAPA)'s slapgat total disinterest in reporting events based on facts and evidence, and their connivance to play parrot to the NPA and to refuse to print any corrections when informed of their errors. Having personally experienced the SA Press Ombudsman's corruption, to endorse SAPA's reporting of lies; I don't quite agree with Ms. Moodie's moral self righteous tone, in regards to the alleged moral superiority of the South African media. Perhaps there are a few journalists here and there, committed to "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth", but I only know of one half baked citizen journalist blogger, who spent a year in a SA prison cell, for her commitment to 'the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth'.
So, lets hope the journalists Ms. Moodie is referring to, are individuals -- unlike Mr. Simon Barber and Ms. Noeline Barbeau, or Independent News Board of Directors -- with a little backbone, a little integrity, a little serious commitment to their duties and responsibilities to write news that is truthful, accurate, fair and balanced.
SA’s editors cry foul over Fifa media restrictions
2010 World Cup media restrictions: are SA’s editors men or mice?
Gill Moodie, Moneywebb & Grub Street
18 January 2010 00:04
EAST LONDON - There is a major row between South Africa's editors and Fifa, the owners of the Soccer World Cup, over what the editors charge are outrageous infringements on our constitutional right to freedom of expression.
The SA Media interest group, a group made up of members of the South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) and industry body Print Media South Africa, are unhappy about a raft of Fifa requirements for journalist who apply for accreditation to cover the tournament. Among the main areas of contention are:
- Newspapers will not be able to push pictures on to their mobile platforms (they can, however, push text);
- There are restrictions on newspapers doing video packages for their websites;
- That reporters will not be able to report on the names of hotels in which the teams are staying;
- No newspapers will be able to sell papers within the restricted zone around stadiums, which has a radius of about 800m;
- Although Fifa commits itself to guaranteeing freedom of expression there is also a clause that says that news organisations may not bring Fifa into disrepute; and
- Many of the terms and conditions apply to reporters and photographers and their "organisations" (suggesting their colleagues, some of whom will not be covering the World Cup) rather than "employer" (ie, their editors).
Fifa's Zurich-based media head, Pekka Odriozola, told me that the requirements have applied to previous World Cups. He also said Fifa respects freedom of expression, that its intentions are good and that it has dealt with and explained its position further in writing to Sanef to iron out misunderstandings.
But the SA Media interest group - for whom the point man in dealing with Fifa is former Rand Daily Mail editor Raymond Louw - says the written clarifications are not satisfactory and that the seriousness of the issue demands that they are able to sit down formally with Fifa and deal with the contentious issues, clause by clause - rather than in broad discussions as has happened in the past.
Thabo Leshilo, head of Sanef's media freedom committee, said: "It's outrageous what Fifa is used to getting away with. The tragedy though is the virtual absence of outrage by local media and editors on the violation of freedom of the press on such a scale. The local media has simply lost the will to fight and is simply going along so long as it can cover the event. It's not too late though to catch a wake up.
The Fix: Soccer and Organized Crime; by Declan Hill
"The issue is further complicated by the fact that it's rather difficult for the public to see the onerous restrictions Fifa places on the media to cover the event as a press-freedom issue. The public couldn't be bothered as long as they'll still be able to attend the games or watch the tournament on television."
As a media commentator I'm with Leshilo on this one - even after a 40-minute interview with the articulate Odriozola. If he is surprised by the uppity South African hacks' concerns, then I say this to Fifa: South African journalists fought long and hard for freedom of the press during apartheid. Even if Fifa's intentions are good, we want written clarification that we can report freely and fairly. We already have that right cast in stone in our Constitution and we don't give it up for anyone - no matter how big you are.
If some of the concerns seem a tad pernickety, let me deal with one of them (with Odriozola's response in the interest of balance):Why would a reporter want to reveal the name of a team's hotel? Well, imagine team members get drunk and into a barney with South African fans in the bar. Imagine a team member has a party of prostitutes in his hotel room? Or, it could be a good news story: a team member is touched by the plight of a poor hotel cleaner, makes friends with her and promises to help put her children through school. You can't write a hard news story without the hotel's name and comment from the manager as it just won't be believable to readers. If there's no "when, WHERE, what, why, how", it seems made up.
God's Joyful Runner; By Russell Ramsey
Odriozola says the restriction is merely for the security and privacy of the team members and if stories arise, the journalists can get permission from the team to name the hotel.
Ja well, no fine. You're certainly not going to get permission if the team got plastered and broke up the party in the bar. And, as Louw points out, why should we have to?
On the big question of bringing Fifa into disrepute, Odriozola says this merely applies to reporters and photographers behaving like hooligans, for instance, if they get drunk in the stands and throw something at players on the pitch. The point, he says, is this:"Freedom of press is guaranteed. That is very important for us and you will be able to cover the World Cup in the best possible conditions. We really work hard to have the best possible facilities, the best possible access to the teams and the competition. I can tell you that the international press in general are always satisfied with the service because at the end of the day, we are servicing the media.
"It comes as a bit of surprise in my opinion that this is still coming back... Perhaps it's just a question of it being maybe the first time that you are seeing such terms and conditions for such an event but, really, they are standard. We have never had any problem (before). They have been examined by international organisations. Really, there is nothing to fear."
The Great Olympic Swindle: When the World Wanted Its Games Back; By Andrew Jennings
But German sports reporter Thomas Kistner told me via e-mail that the German media were concerned about the Fifa terms and conditions before the 2006 World Cup - a fact confirmed to Louw by German editors.
"Yes, there was lots of fighting against Fifa's press restrictions before the WC 2006 in Germany," wrote Kistner. "The World Association of Newspapers threatened Fifa with suing them for actions against the freedom of the press. Fifa had forbidden a lot, for instance, online photographs during a match and a strictly limited right to print pictures of a match even after this. They also made rules how to use and print photographs in the newspapers."
On the clause about bringing Fifa into disrepute, Kistner said:"...but nobody cared about this - it would have become a scandal if Fifa had thrown out a reporter because of this. And they won't dare do this in South Africa as well, I guess. But this is not the problem. The problem is that they try to do so."
Issues that Fifa will not budge on, says Odriozola, are those concerning pictures on mobile platforms and video packages as Fifa has to protect broadcasting and cellphone rights. It will also not budge on the ban on selling newspapers in the restricted zone around stadiums because of the need to secure the area and direct the crowd flow.
So best South Africa's editors re-examine their web and mobile strategies for the World Cup as well as the usual practice of keeping an eye on what's going on at the hotels and plans to sell papers to the punters streaming into the stadiums. However, time is short as the deadline for accreditation is weeks away.
It seems to me that while the editors have been happy to let Sanef fight their cause, that they are nervous about making a noise about this in their own newspapers lest they lose out on accreditation. Granted I'm not covering the competition but for crying out loud, venerable editors of South Africa, on this very important principle, what exactly are you? Men or mice? Editors or saps?
*Media columnist Gill Moodie spent 14 years as a salaried hack in print media in South Africa and the UK before escaping to the blogosphere and freelance journalism. She is the publisher of Grubstreet http://grubstreet.co.za/ in between unpacking and packing the infernal dishwasher and bringing up a four-year-old with attitude.
» » » » [Moneyweb (PDF), via Grub Street]
Politics and Corruption in FIFA
Sport reporters Jens Weinreich and Thomas Kistner review the strange ways television rights are sold in FIFA, president Blatter's election in 1998 and the circumstances around the selection of Germany as host for the World Cup 2006.
By Jens Weinreich, Thomas Kistner; playthegame.org
Published 00:00, 15 November 2000
Dear friends and colleagues,
First of all a brief apology: The most competent speaker on this item, Politics and corruption in FIFA, can not be with us. Mr. Joseph Blatter, the president of FIFA and member of the IOC, has more urgent things to do these days.
In Brazil he has been invited to appear as a witness in a corruption inquiry being carried out by the Congress. The Senators and Congressmen are investigating the longtime-closest friends of Mr. Blatter: The honorary FIFA-president Joao Havelange and his former son-in-law, the FIFA Executive Member Ricardo Teixeira. In Brazil, it seems, nobody really knows what happened to the 400 million US$ from the world-famous Nike-contract.
In addition, Blatter has to raise the enormous sum of about 250 million US$. This is, as far as we can count, the money he promised to all national and continental federations to make him president in June 1998 at the FIFA congress in Paris. We will come back to this election later.
Eric Liddell: Champion Of Conviction; By David McCasland
Corruption in Fifa. Today we will not talk about this because the Brazilian parliament is currently investigating. By the way, the Congress has just stripped 19 Brazilian FIFA registered players' agents of their banking secrecy. They want to do the same with Teixeira, who is also president of the national federation, and with his secret economic ally Jos Havilla, who owns the marketing company Traffic. This company is getting most of the valuable marketing and TV contracts in brazilian football.
The similarity of the discussions in Brazil and here in Copenhagen shows once more that there are indeed serious problems with corruption in the world of soccer.
We have written a book about this and hundreds of articles. We discovered, that the old boys connection is still working well. It is the same connection Andrew Jennings mentioned last Sunday. Just a few keywords: Blatter, Havelange, ISL, Adidas, Dassler, Guelfi. Keywords which are also very important for and very well kmown within the International Olympic Committee.
Three questions about FIFA's ideas of democracy and transparency
Lets have a look at what came out of the promises which candidat Blatter made to the world of soccer in his presidential campaign two years ago: A lot more democracy and transparency in the so-called FIFA family. That's not our joke. That's what he is still talking about.
We do not want to tell you all the stories, but rather make some remarks regarding three topics:
- How is FIFA selling its rights for television and sponsoring?
- How does FIFA elect its president?
- How is FIFA selecting the host country for the World Cup?
Two days ago we listened to the speech made by German TV-manager Stefan Kürten: The bidding game. It was funny that Mr. Kürten told us that the federations have to play the role of referees. This is really not their function. On the contrary, their task is getting the most money out of the bidding process, in regard of the sport and the public. And now let's look how FIFA conducted itself in the bid for the actual television rights.
An exchange of letters between FIFA and a bidding company
We are happy to present to you quotations from letters that were exchanged between one bidding company and FIFA's Mr. Blatter.
It began on 18th August 1995 with a strictly confidential letter from Eric Drossart, IMG International Group Vice President, to Joseph S. Blatter, at this time General Secretary of FIFA.Dear Sepp (...) We are now in the position that IMG wishes to make a joint offer together with Ufa (Bertelsmann/d. A.) for the exclusive acquisition of worldwide broadcast rights for the World Cup 2002, plus the companion sponsorship and licensing rights for the event if available. With this letter IMG/Ufa are offering to pay a fee to FIFA of US$ 1 billion (one billion), on a payment schedule to be agreed.(...)
Kindest regards, Eric Drossart.
Soccer Against the Enemy: How the World's Most Popular Sport Starts and Fuels Revolutions and Keeps Dictators in Power; by Simon Kuper
Do we understand this correctly? Is there a company throwing 1 billion dollars on the table, right out of the blue? Copies of this letter went to then FIFA president Havelange and all Executive Commission Members? Poor Mr. Drossart from IMG, he did not know that he had just committed his first big mistake.
Blatter answered, 11 days later.Dear Eric (...) thank you for your valuable offer (...) We shall analyse your proposal very carefully and revert to the subject as soon as possible.
Nevertheless, we have to express our surprise at the way the letter to the General Secretary of FIFA was termed strictly confidential but copies were sent to all the members of the FIFA Executive Committee (...) We are not convinced that this was the most suitable method of communicating (...)
Blatter was upset. But the question is: Why? FIFA's Executive Committee was the governing body and his boss. According to the statutes he had to serve the Committee.
They went on exchanging lots of letters. Drossart kept on asking for bidding details and timetables. Blatter's answers had no content. And worse: He kept on changing the agenda. Poor Mr. Drossart had to learn in spring 1996 that FIFA was now planing to sell the TV rights in a package for 2002 and 2006.
The Story of Eric Liddell: Olympic Champion & Man of Courage; By Day of Discovery
Then, on April 18th, Blatter wrote to Drossart:It is our pleasure to enclose herewith a copy of the Minimum Conditions for the Broadcast of the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cup, which are mandatory. Should your company still be interested in the rights described in the above-mentioned letter, we kindly invite you to submit your proposal on the basis of its contents by noon on the 15th May 1996.
Look at this! FIFA was suddenly offering a billion-dollar-deal until 2006, but the bidding company is getting less than 4 weeks to evaluate and arrange its offer. Is this the correct way to handle such a deal or did FIFA already have an agreement with another company?
Drossart was furious. He answered:I must admit that I am amazed by the content of your letter (...) There are glaring inconsistencies in your letters to us concerning the basis on which the rights are being made available and such obvious preferential treatment being given to other parties (...) that as of today it is difficult to believe that FIFA genuinely wish to consider our offer on a properly competitive basis. Your most recent letter has also failed to clarify a number of critical issues (...) FIFAs position on consolidating the rights on offer has changed 180 degrees since November 1995.
Sepp, it is very difficult to conclude anything other than there being two sets of rules in operation here, one for the old partners CCC (EBU/d. A.) and ISL, and one for the rest, and your responses to our efforts are merely a cosmetic exercise designed to protect FIFA from future accusations of unfair and improper conduct.
Development and Dreams: The urban legacy of the 2010 Football World Cup; By Udesh Pillay, Richard Tomlinson, Orli Bass (eds)
Poor Mr. Drossart was now desperate. Now he understood that he had never had a real chance to get the TV rights. Regardless of the money he would offer.
But in the end the biggest surprise was for IMG and all other bidding companies, including the old FIFA-partner EBU. Blatter had only dealt with ISL, and this was why the new and hidden ISL partner Leo Kirch got the contract for 2002 and 2006. As we heard from Mr. Kürten the other day, this was the worst loss in EBU history. And what happened with the marketing rights? The same curious procedure, the same company got them in the end. ISL.
Why did Blatter and Havelange have to sell the FIFA rights again and again to their closest personal friends at ISL? And do not forget: We are talking about contracts worth more than 3.5 billion swiss francs.
An election overshadowed by suspicions of corruption
Now let's change the subject. Another impressive example of the lack of democracy and the omnipresence of corrupt circumstances in FIFA is the so-called election of president Blatter in 1998.
David Will, the Scottish vice president and lawyer, summed it all up some days after the decision in Paris. He said the suspicion of corruption will always overshadow this election. But, nevertheless, none of Blatter's opponents in the Johansson camp were clever enough to take legal action.
What happened? Lying was a standard technique for Mr. Blatter, then general secretary of FIFA. Blatter used the powerful FIFA administration to run his presidential campaign. Of course, this was against the rules and statutes of FIFA, and against a decision of the Executive Board. And the old dictator, Havelange, wrote personal letters to African delegates, inviting them on his private account to come to the election meeting, promising development aid etc. The typical way of giftgiving in the world of sports.
Dishonored Games: Corruption, Money, and Greed at the Olympics; by Vyv Simson, Andrew Jennings
It was also very interesting to see which supporting countries Blatter presented when he announced his late candidacy in April 1998. Among these 15 countries were significant federations and football powerhouses such as Algeria, Libya, Lebanon and Guinea.
But only a few weeks later he won by an almost incredible margin: 111 to 80 votes. Surprise, surprise! Not only Lennart Johansson, the swedish UEFA-president, was wondering what happened the night before in the Meridien Montparnasse, the hotel in which most of the African delegates were based. Mogidius Braun, the president of the German federation, called it a dirty game, full of dirty tricks.
What was it that made a lot of African delegates change their minds so quickly in the last few hours? Only a short time before they had stood together hand in hand with Issa Hayatou, the chief of the African confederation CAF and FIFA vice president and promised their support for Johansson.
The next day we talked to Hayatou. He confirmed that the talk was all about money, all night in the Meridien Hotel. Hayatou himself got a phone call around midnight as he was preparing to retire for the night. He was urged to come over immediately from his Hotel, the Bristol, to the Meridien. When he arrived there a lot of African delegates asked him how much money they could get from CAF. He also confirmed what other observers said: It was bargaining like in a bazaar.
What does it mean, when hours before the most important election in the world of football and, maybe, in the world of sport, dozens of delegates - all of them members of the so called FIFA-family - are running around talking about money, money, money.
Blatter kept on lying when he declared on several occasions that he had never visited the Meridien Hotel until the day of his election. We have another impression: We watched him two days before the election in the Salon Modigliani making a flaming speech in front of the delegates from North and Central America.
How Germany won the World Cup 2006
But there was one important promise Blatter gave to his overnight supporters that the new president could not keep: He had promised the World Cup 2006 to Africa. The decision of the FIFA Executive Board was to be made in July 2000, and now Blatter had acquired his first big problem in office.
Africa was counting on him. Indeed, there were a lot of good reasons to give the World Cup to Africa. The continent had never had such a big sporting event. No doubt, the world of football could organise a World Cup in South Africa, because there is enough money in the business to use for developing the infrastructure. But one problem is that officals of the world sport governing bodies - FIFA and IOC - are not really interested in this kind of family aid. They prefer to keep the money from their rich sponsors in their rich countries. And federations, of course.
We all know who the winner was. But it is an error to think that the german victory was only the result of the Franz-Beckenbauer-campaign. It was much more a personal defeat for Blatter and a victory for the Germany, Incorporated.
It was a defeat for Blatter because all 8 Europeans on the Executive Board voted en bloc for the first time in many years. After Johansson's loss in Paris in 1998 they could not risk another disaster. They had to stand together. And they did.
Despite these 8 votes there was still a deficit of 5 votes. As you know, there are 24 votes in all, but a tie of 12:12 would have left the matter in the hands of the deciding vote of FIFA president Blatter, a supporter of South Africa. So Germany desperately needed 5 more votes.
They only got 4. But because New Zealand's Charles Dempsey abstained from the election rather than vote for South Africa it was enough to succeed. 12:11, one abstention.
Now lets look on these 4 new supporters for Germany. It was an entirely Asian bloc. These officals came from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and South Korea.
And now let's take a look at what some of the biggest German companies, some of them bidding sponsors, were doing behind the curtains: DaimlerChrysler, Bayer, BASF and Siemens announced investments and joint ventures in Thailand and South Korea worth around 2 billion US$. All these announcements were made during the last 10 days before the FIFA decision. And 8 days before, the Federal Security Council of Germany decided in a strictly confidential meeting to deliver 1200 anti-tank grenade launchers to Saudi Arabia.
We do not claim that these companies and the government conspired to buy the World Cup 2006. But we do think this was amazingly good timing by german industry. These were precisely those countries that voted for Germany on the 6th of July. South Africas economy could not afford any billion dollar weapons. We think this was the key issue of the election.
But we also think that South Africa did not go far enough after their defeat to clear up all the things that happened. Lets come back to Charles Dempsey's curious behavior: Why did they not take legal measures against an election which had ultimately been determined by the inexplicable abstention of one delegate? Dempsey has said he decided not to vote because he had been put under intolerable pressure by supporters of the competing bids, including attempts to bribe him.
But this can not be accepted as an accurate account of these events. Dempsey was not a private person in Zurich. He had to deliver the vote of his Oceanic confederation to South Africa. And this would have changed the result.
The problems are always the same, and not only in FIFA:
- There is still a huge deficit of democracy and transparency.
There are no independent controlling bodies.
- The members of the so-called families never call for civil judges, because they fear investigations and inquiries.
- The officals continue to look out for themselves: Since Blatter became president, every member of the Executive Board now gets 50.000 US$ dollars per year.
- The TV and marketing companies, winners and loosers of every so-called bidding game, are looking forward to the next auction.
- The bidding countries and their political leaders are also looking forward to the next bidding process. Those who want to keep their options open are afraid of going too far in critisising powerful sports bureaucrats. They give them what they are asking for: Tax exemptions, for example.
So we would like to close with the same words Dr. Bengt Saltin used yesterday when he talked about the future of sports and the threat of gene doping:As long as these people are in power and allowed to operate on their own authority there will always be corruption in the world of football.
» » » » [Play the Game (PDF)]
» » [Pro-SA “Boycott 2010 World Cup” Campaign on Facebook ]
» » [Is FIFA Blackmailing RSA Media?: Blatter & African Mass Murderer's]
» » [Open Letter to FIFA 2010 World Cup Teams: ‘Flying Scotsman’ Anyone?]
» » [Secret World of FIFA & Sepp Blatter: Bribery, Blackmail, Vote Rigging and Ticket Scandals]