J'can officials could soften stance on media access

BY PAUL A REID Observer writer

Friday, July 20, 2012    

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BIRMINGHAM, England — There is a glimmer of hope that members of the Jamaican media who have been locked out of the Jamaican pre-Olympic camp here at the University of Birmingham could get access to the athletics camp prior to the July 24 media day.

Yesterday, two high-ranking members of the Jamaican contingent here, technical leader Donald Quarrie and JAAA president Dr Warren Blake, said they would "see what they could do," about lifting the shroud of secrecy surrounding the camp.

Quarrie told the Jamaica Observer during a telephone conversation he would try to arrange "a face-to-face" meeting, while later in the day when the Observer team caught up with Dr Blake, the JAAA president said he would see what he could do about allowing members of the Jamaican media access to the camp.

The July 24 media day was designed for journalists from around the world to get an up close look at the team in light training and then to ask questions afterwards.

Quarrie had told the Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange some weeks ago that long detailed interviews would not be allowed at the media day as those questions would have to wait for the official press conference to be held a few days later in London.

The Observer had meanwhile, heard that it was the "personal coaches" of the athletes who had objected to the media being in the camp but it was explained to both Quarrie and Blake that there were media interests in other areas of the Olympic Games other than just the athletes.

On Wednesday, members of the Jamaica Observer team and other Jamaican journalists were denied access to the training facilities by security guards.

Yesterday, one journalist who turned up at the facility was first asked to put away his camera and less than half-hour later, was asked to leave the compound entirely, but later turned up at the USA training and daily press conference where he was accommodated.

Meanwhile, there is uncertainty as to which organisation, the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) or the JAAA, is in charge of the camp.

Despite agreeing that the team was under the Olympic charter now, Dr Blake insisted that the camp was being run by and was under the umbrella of the JAAA.

Earlier, the JOA had asked journalists covering the Olympics to be accredited through them and had handled all matters concerning the Games, from the accreditation process to just about anything to do with the Games.

However, there are no members of the JOA in Birmingham, while the JAAA is well served with a number of officials.





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