Protest forces organisers to withdraw media accreditation fee

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad,  CMC-The Association of Caribbean Media Workers Association (ACM) yesterday welcomed news that organizers were re-considering 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an event that attracts significant public attention and says a public announcement should be made that the fee had been withdrawn.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 organizers 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.
“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 intra-regional 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 organization. “Local audiences usually take pride in their athletes, even if they are not the center 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 world athletics.

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