Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Major media outlets have told an Australian senate committee on environment, communications and the arts that Australians are being denied full coverage of sporting events.
They have told the inquiry that major sporting organisations are restricting how photos and text can be used on the internet and other digital media, which is threatening the reporting of sport as news.
Sporting organisations have hit back saying that such online content is a big money earner for them. They say that the money earned from those rights gets invested in grassroots programs.
Australian Associated Press asked the committee to recommend legislation guaranteeing the right of news media cover major sporting events.
“AAP reporting and photography are the lifeblood of news for regional and rural newspapers across the country,” Fairfax Media, publisher of The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and a number of regional papers, said in its submission. “Millions of Australians are being prevented from receiving full AAP coverage of major sporting events. When photographs of sport events are privatised, all forms of journalism are vulnerable to such restrictions.”
“AAP believes that the most effective way to protect the public interest in receiving news about sporting and related events is to have a legislated provision for right of access for news media,” AAP’s submission says.
The Australian Football League, in its submission, also argued for legislative amendments, but to the Copyright Act. Their recommendations would see the use of audio-visual, photographic and audio media restricted in the digital domain.
“To avoid protracted disputes with media organisations and to ensure a minimum standard of protection across digital sports news reporting in Australia, AFL believes that the best means of introducing these restrictions is by way of amendments to the Copyright Act or a mandatory industry code,” the AFL’s submission said.
Wikinews asked the AFL, Football Federation Australia and the Sunshine Coast Daily for comment. The AFL refused to comment until after their submission was formally made to the committee.