Saint Petersburg (AFP) – Russia on Tuesday defended restrictions on visiting journalists covering the Confederations Cup football tournament, after Germany’s biggest-selling newspaper said it would boycott the tournament.
Official guidelines for the curtain raiser tournament ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia say that media representatives who receive FIFA accreditation will be allowed to “solely cover the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 and related events.”
“Media representatives accredited for the FIFA Confederations Cup are allowed to work on the territory of the host cities and cultural sites located nearby,” the guidelines say.
Any journalist who wants to report from beyond the cities where matches are being held needs to get accreditation from the Russian authorities required as standard by all journalists working for foreign outlets in the country, FIFA said.
The alleged limitations on journalists sparked anger from Germany’s Bild tabloid, which announced Monday that it will not send any journalists to cover the Confederations Cup.
“A journalist who cannot report everything he sees is not a journalist, but a propagandist,” Bild wrote.
“Bild will not send any reporter to the Confederations Cup as long as this censorship applies.”
But Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko insisted reporters would be able to cover “everything they want, without any problems” and the rules on reporting from the rest of country were long established.
“In Russia there is an accreditation procedure for foreign journalists which has been in force since 1994,” Mutko said at a meeting with FIFA officials in Saint Petersburg.
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