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IAPA assails FIFA rule on World Cup coverage

IAPA assails FIFA rule on World Cup coverage

It backs call for end to restriction of online photo transmission

MIAMI, Florida (January 11, 2006) - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today joined the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) in demanding that organizers of the 2006 World Cup soccer championship lift restrictions on the dissemination of photos of the games imposed on online media for the June games to be held in Germany.

In a message to the president of the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA), Joseph S. Blatter, the IAPA stated its concern at the action and joined in the request to lift the restriction of news coverage of one of the world's major sporting events.

Following is the full text of the letter signed by IAPA President Diana Daniels, of the Washington Post Company, Washington, D.C., and the chairman of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Gonzalo Marroquín, editor of the Guatemala City, Guatemala, newspaper Prensa Libre.

"Dear M. Blatter,

"The Inter American Press Association, made up of more than 1,300 publications in the Western Hemisphere, expresses its concern over the conditions imposed by the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) for photographic coverage in digital media during the upcoming World Cup championship. In doing so, the IAPA expresses its support for the request made by the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) that FIFA lift the restrictions on the use of photographs in digital publishing, including on the Internet.

"The ban on transmitting photographs of matches until one hour after they are ended has serious implications for freedom of the press and the ability of journalists and the news media to impart information.

"This right and the general public's desire to have immediate and detailed access to an event of major interest such as the World Cup, beyond any contractual commitments, should not be curtailed or limited in any way.

"We also hope that, with the aim of resolving the differences about how media can cover the World Cup, the upcoming meeting of the working group made up of FIFA and WAN representatives will produce a positive outcome.

"The IAPA adheres to, and hopes you share with it, the principle that "every person has the right to seek and receive information, express opinions and disseminate them freely. No one may restrict or deny these rights," as enshrined in the Declaration of Chapultepec,"a document on free speech and press freedom endorsed by many heads of state of the Western Hemisphere".

InterAmerican Press Association 1801 SW 3 Ave Miami FL 33129

ENDS

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