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AIPS opposes LOCOG's monopolistic internet policy

AIPS opposes LOCOG's monopolistic internet policy

LAUSANNE, April 17, 2012 – There will be 5,800 accredited journalists in London to cover the 2012 Olympic Games and curiously, LOCOG has admitted in an email* sent yesterday to international media, that only 150 of them have ordered an internet package from the official rate card.

And not only has LOCOG admitted the slow take-up of the official internet packages, the email sent from LOCOGPressOperations@london2012.com informed journalists that the use of 3G Wi-Fi will not be approved for use in Olympic venues.

The AIPS President Gianni Merlo who expressed surprise at receiving the communiqué described London 2012's internet policy as "tantamount to the restriction of trade, a restriction of the freedom of the press to choose a method of communication, and one which promotes a kind of monopoly".

"To restrict the accredited media from using Wi-Fi 3G is unprecedented and we believe bordering on illegal. How can you stop journalists from using Wi-Fi 3G at the venues? This method of communication has become standard practice. The fact that, as LOCOG admits, 'There are 5,800 individuals accredited but only 150 have ordered internet access' is an indictment of the restrictive internet policy employed by LOCOG," Merlo said.

For the past 18 months AIPS has campaigned for free internet access for accredited media in London.

Free internet access at high profile sports events at international championships and World Cups is now standard. The media has had access to free internet services at the FIFA World Cup 2010, the FIS Ski World Championships 2011, FINA World Swimming Championships 2011, IAAF World Championships in Athletics 2011, 2011 Pan American Games and the IAAF World Indoor Athletics Championships, 2012, among others.

The AIPS President urged LOCOG to reconsider its "short-sighted and monopolistic policy".

"We believe that LOCOG should not make a profit from the media," Merlo said.