The International Sports Journalists’ Association (AIPS) has unanimously rejected a “peremptory” demand of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and UAE to shut down Al Jazeera and beIN networks, it said yesterday in a statement.
“AIPS will never accept the principle that politics can limit the freedom of expression and free initiative in the field of information in any part of the world. As has been emphasised, the sports media cannot be subjected to any condition by any authority who wants to control it,” AIPS statement read.
“Additionally, AIPS cannot accept the behaviour of coaches and players who have refused to speak with journalists representing beIN during international events. In its primary role of defending the professionalism and dignity of sports journalists everywhere, AIPS strongly condemns such behaviour.
The public is the main judge of sports media, and those dedicating their profession hold their work to the highest of ethical principles,” it added.
AIPS President Gianni Merlo said the association has had “excellent experiences” in the past, referring to Qatar’s hosting of two AIPS congresses in 2006 and 2016, two executive committee meetings, and three Young Reporters Program editions.
“In recent years, we have been able to see the positive evolution of sport journalism in these countries, which means that we cannot accept that this evolution is blocked indefinitely by a political storm,” Marlo said.
“A generation of young colleagues is likely to suffer, which is unacceptable. We are certain that this is a point we can all agree on and we hope that dialogue will overwhelm dangerous winds of war,” he added.
© Gulf Times Newspaper 2019