JAAA to tighten restrictions on local press for Trials

JAAA to tighten restrictions on local press for Trials

BY DANIA BOGLE Observer staff reporter

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

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CITING abuses by media personnel and inequitable treatment by media houses, the Jamaica Athletic Administrative Association (JAAA) is planning to tighten its restrictions on the local press at this weekend’s Supreme Ventures National Senior Championships at the National Stadium.

"The JAAA must seek to maximise its revenue and in maximising its revenue we had to make some decisions," organising committee communications director Dennis Gordon told reporters at a media briefing at Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston yesterday.

Photographers will have to sign a waiver agreeing to provide a compact disc (CD) of all photographs taken during the Championships to the JAAA at the end of the four days of competition.

Gordon cited the cost of producing accreditation, which is provided free to the media, and noted that the body also had to pay to advertise the event in the press, but when it turned to the press for support, it was asked to pay for athletes’ photographs which it wished to publish in its Olympic supplement.

"It is not fair for those media houses to use the athletes for commercial gain," he stated, adding that the athletes’ agents had also asked that their image rights be protected.

When it was pointed out by reporters that this practise is done nowhere else in the world, Gordon said the JAAA is moving in line with other sport governing bodies such as the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) which has its own cadre of photographers at its events.

Gordon said he had held discussions with Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) president Jenni Campbell, who had agreed that one reporter per media house would be reasonable, which was one fewer than the two reporters the JAAA had initially stated it would be allowing.

However, Gordon added that no final number had yet been decided. This will be done at a meeting later this week.

"It’s premature now. We’re going to have a meeting and then we will issue a formal statement," he said.

Credentials will be nontransferable, he added.

"I hate to call out any journalist, but there are cases we have on file of people misrepresenting where they work," said Gordon.

"We have two cases now where journalists apply to represent media houses and the media houses say ‘No, they don’t work for us; they are freelancers’," he added.

Some 70 media personnel from across the world have requested accreditation for the Jamaican Championships which is being billed as a "mini-Olympics", with Friday’s men’s 100m final expected to include world record-holder Usain Bolt, former world record-holder Asafa Powell and World champion Yohan Blake.

Meanwhile, 15 schools received tickets for Friday’s second day of competition from sponsors Supreme Ventures Limited (SVL).

Alpha Academy, Camperdown, Charlie Smith, Donald Quarrie, Edwin Allen, Hydel, Jamaica College, John Mills All Age, St Jago, Kingston College, Queens, St George’s College, Clarendon College, Wolmer’s Boys’ and Wolmer’s Girls’ are the recipients, and their students will be able to watch the 400m hurdles and 100m men’s and women’s finals live.

Friday’s opening ceremony will be used to launch the Jamaica 50 celebrations which will mark 50 years of political Independence from Great Britain on August 6 this year.

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