PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC):
The Association of Caribbean Media Workers Association (ACM) yesterday welcomed news that organisers were reconsidering a US$100 accreditation fee for media workers covering the 42nd Junior CARIFTA Games in The Bahamas.
ACM released a statement late yesterday saying the fee can hinder media coverage of an event that attracts significant public attention and says a public announcement should be made that the fee had been withdrawn.
Media practitioners have quoted organisers of the March 29 to April 1 Games as saying the fee is applicable for a March 11 accreditation deadline.
"This imposition deviates from longstanding regional and international practice and has the potential to inhibit the work of the regional media in covering an event which attracts significant public attention," said the statement from ACM, the umbrella body for media associations in the region.
negative ripple effect
"We believe, if implemented, imposition of the fee could have serious, negative implications regarding issues of freedom of information and media freedom."
The proposed accreditation fee was considered a financial burden to sports journalists and had sparked protest among the region's media.
Every year, media workers from Caribbean, including Suriname, Haiti and Belize, descend on the Games' venue to report on the prestigious four-day event.
ACM notes that the proposed fee was coming on top of exorbitant costs of intraregional travel, accommodation, as well as vast differences in exchange rates between nations.
"People at home have an interest in tracking the progress of their heroes' and the more extensive the coverage the better," said the Port-of-Spain headquartered organisation.
"Local audiences usually take pride in their athletes, even if they are not the centre of attention and it is through increased media access that this is facilitated."
The Junior CARIFTA Games, which have produced world record holders and Olympic champions, are considered one of the best development meets in global athletics.
"The ACM wishes the Local Organising Committee of the 42nd CARIFTA Games every success and looks forward to the announcement that this decision has been rescinded," the statement said.