BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
The president of the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) has written to the CAF president, Ahmad to point out the dangers of creating a separate sports journalists’ union by CAF.
A credible source informed Sports Village Square that a group of sports journalists from French speaking African countries had approached the CAF president and floated an idea of a Confederation of African Sports Press.
It is gathered that the idea is already receiving serious attention from Ahmad, the CAF president. But the president of AIPS, Gianni Merlo has written to the CAF president, pointing out the dangers of the new initiative.
According to the 70-year old Italian president of AIPS in his memo to the CAF president, “the outline of the initiative isn’t yet clear, but the philosophy behind this proposal is: the initiative directly contravenes the independence of the press.
- A copy of AIPS’ two-page memo to CAF President, Ahmad
“I do not know if this aspect has been evaluated. Perhaps consultant Hedi Hamel hasn’t explained all the finer points and therefore your agreement may have been obtained under false pretences. You may, in good faith, not have seen the dangers and perils of this initiative”.
Merlo asserted that the creation of an African Sports Press Confederation cannot be financed and launched by CAF as this would entail a clear conflict of interests.
Continuing, he wrote: “I state, and maintain, that everyone is free to make choices and everyone is free to create journalistic organizations.
“However, when an official body, like CAF, is involved, then the situation changes. There is a danger that this initiative will hide less noble objectives of helping a new generation of journalists and that goes directly against the principle of transparency, which you embraced at the time of your election.
“Every initiative, which can help journalism emerge from the crisis across the industry, is welcome, but not when it conceals other objectives, less noble in nature.
“Perhaps you don’t know that our Association has been organizing courses for young journalists with FIFA for years. Young African journalists have always participated and you can speak directly with them to check the level of teaching. In this partnership, all the principles of transparency and independence are respected.
“AIPS has a 94-year history and strives to improve the culture of new and older generations of journalists. The Association is committed to fight alongside FIFA and other associations against corruption in sport and against match fixing, which is currently the biggest evil in sport.
“To win these battles it is necessary to be united, but your initiative instead tends to create confusion, to divide and therefore to make our actions less effective against these ills of sport.
“Perhaps you did not evaluate this negative implications and there is still time to remedy the situation. I believe in your good faith and in the ability to find a solution, because it is necessary that we fight the evils of which I have spoken together”.