By Michael Moynihan
THE WORLD Association of Newspapers and the world’s major news agencies, has expressed dismay at FIFA’s decision to insist on severe restrictions on photo publication for this year’s World Cup finals.
FIFA has abandoned talks with the media grouping despite continuing disagreement between the two sides. FIFA has banned publication of World Cup photos through the Internet, including on thousands of newspaper web sites, during matches and has severely restricted the number that can be published, regardless of time limits. It has also introduced editorial restrictions on how photos can be used in print publications.
WAN and the agencies are now planning to explore their legal options and alert the German government and European political leaders, as well as FIFA’s World Cup sponsors, to the situation. "We defend the freedom of the press to report events without any restrictions. This is our fundamental right to report news as it happens - be it football, politics or war - and to disseminate it on all platforms, without any distinction," said Monique Villa, Managing Director of Reuters.
Among the Internet restrictions are a limit of five photos per-half of each match and two photos during each-half of extra time, including penalty shootouts.
In a letter to FIFA president Sepp Blatter, WAN has accused FIFA of breaching international conventions on the right of freedom to information.