Fairfax, News to boycott Games accreditation

Fairfax, News to boycott Games accreditation

Publishers News Corp Australia and Fairfax Media have confirmed they will not seek media accreditation for the 2018 Commonwealth Games after rights discussions broke down, reflecting the tenuous relationships of sporting bodies with publishers.

The publishers made the decision not to report on the Games through official channels due to numerous accessibility and broadcast restrictions on the use of online images and video.

“We will not be signing up for Commonwealth Games 2018 accreditation under the current terms and rules required,” a Fairfax spokesperson said on Tuesday.

The decision follows the announcement from News Corp earlier this week that it would not attend the Games as an accredited media organisation. A key factor of the decision was the restrictive nature of the Games news access rules (NARs), which would forbid external video production.

Both publishers will instead report the Games from outside the venue and without attending official media conferences.

Australian Associated Press is still negotiating with the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games committee, with a decision to be made by the end of the year.

AAP chief executive Bruce Davidson said that while no decision had been made, “AAP agrees with the industry in general that the current accreditation conditions being sought by the Games organisers impose undue restrictions on press freedom and limits the ability of publishers to provide vital and independent news coverage for Australians”.

It is unclear how the boycott will affect the partnership deal with News Corp masthead The Gold Coast Bulletin, the official regional newspaper of the event.

In October, Commonwealth Games chairman Peter Beattie said the organising committee would strive to avoid a boycott.

“We still believe there can be some resolution of these matters. We are determined to do it because we don’t want to have boycotts.

“At the end of the day we think we can reach a sensible compromise and that is what we intend to do,” Mr Beattie said.

Network Seven has already secured the broadcast rights to the Games.