The 79th AIPS Congress assembled in Doha from the 8th to the 10th of February 2016 where it reviewed the progress of the petition submitted to the European Parliament in order to give free access to all sport events to any journalist of any media.
After the debate held during the Congress, the authors of the petition developed three recommendations:
1) Each national association from an EU member country is invited to contact its national Members of the European Parliament, regardless of their political affiliation, to raise awareness on the issue and obtain their support.
2) Each national association of the AIPS-Europe, including the ones from non-EU members, are invited to inform the AIPS about all the infringements to the terms of the petition submitted to the European Parliament. Every restriction of the access to a sport event will be attached to the petition dossier, to be studied by the European Parliament.
3) All the associations from other continents are also invited to inform the AIPS of all the restrictions of the access to a national or international sport event they notice, in order to give the authors of the petition the possibility to assert a potential jurisprudence and raise awareness on the violations of the independence of sports journalism.
On October 7th, 2014, in Brussels, the committee on Petitions of the European Parliament declared the petition of the AIPS on the liberty of free access to sport events officially open, despite the non-competence recommendation emitted by the European Commission. It means that any infringement to the liberty of free access to a sport event could be considered as violating European Union legislation and denounced to national authorities of the member state and to the President of the European Parliament.
The Members who heard the three representatives of the AIPS (Iannis Darras, David Naert and Jean-Paul Savart) unanimously considered that the commercial practices denounced, particularly in football, rugby and cycling, are discriminatory and incompatible with the necessary independence of journalism.
The right to access sport events in the European Union is just the first step to reaching jurisprudence worldwide. Nonetheless, to be effective, a mobilisation from all the national associations of sport journalists is necessary.
-After having accepted the petition, the committee on Petitions of the European Parliament send the case for further investigation to three other committees of the Parliament: "Culture and Education", "Internal Market and Consumer Protection", and "Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs". The authors of the petition have decided to contact directly these committees to rapidly get a follow-up of the requests.
-The authors of the petition plan to organise a conference in Brussels with representatives from the European Parliament, members of the AIPS and journalists covering European affairs.