A Dangerous Precedent

August 20, 2014 at 12:22 pm 4 comments

Australia’s hosting of the Men’s Asian Cup is less than six months away, and as excited as football fans should be that the country is hosting its first senior major tournament there are many who are feeling a little left out. Those fans who live outside of Queensland, New South Wales, the ACT and Victoria, as they have not been invited to be a part of the party.

There were eyebrows raised several months ago when it was announced that Italian Alessandro del Piero was to be an ambassador for the Asian Cup. (The Wrong Choice) Many felt that of all the imports to the A-League Japan’s Shinji Ono would have been a far better choice having actually played in the tournament and won it.

If this was a strange choice the news that the organisers have appointed Media Ambassadors has to be the most bizarre yet; and raises questions over the integrity of those accepting such a role. 

Sports coverage the world over has become decidedly one-eyed in the past twenty years, and as witnessed with the recent coverage of the Commonwealth Games if you want to know about athletes from countries other than Australia, good luck. Not only does this fly in the face of Australia’s claims of being a multi cultural society, but for genuine sports fans is incredibly frustrating.

Never before have we heard of a competition having Media Ambassadors, and it raises the question as to how much honest comment viewers are going to get on the tournament. The television presenters and pundits are there to give insights and honest opinions, and not simply spruik the tournament. They are there to add to the viewing experience and impart information to the viewer. Good or bad it is their job to report it, and highlight what went wrong or right. Sure they are there to offer entertainment, but if it is a shocker of a game, the viewer can see that it is, so please do not try and hype it up as being anything else.

According to the press release Simon Hill, Les Murray, Mark Bosnich, Robbie Slater, Craig Foster and Andy Harper have all taken on such roles. As have Channel Seven’s Jim Wilson, Fox’s Adam Peacock and Tara Rushton, Stephanie Brantz of the ABC, Lucy Zelic of SBS and Network Ten’s Mel McLaughlin.

The press release went on to quote Local Organising Committee CEO Michael Brown as saying “Our media ambassadors will play a very important part in that, conveying their own sense of excitement to their viewers and fans so that collectively we create a buzz around this tournament that will never be forgotten.”

One would expect that the on air performances would be being monitored closely by the media watchdog as to whether these ambassadors are simply spouting propaganda; It is interesting to note that no journalists from the print media have been signed up.  

This is a very dangerous precedent, one that could change the way sport is viewed from hereon in. How much can what we are being told be trusted? Is this almost akin to the “cash for comments” scandal? It is too early to tell. It does however raise the question as  where independent media coverage has gone? 

It was the late Jim Morrison who said “Whoever controls the media controls the mind.” No doubt the Asian Cup organising committee are big Doors fans and have taken heed of his comment. 

   

 

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. All White  |  August 20, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    This is disgraceful and certainly does bring into question the integrity of all concerned. Some mentioned one already had question marks over their propagandist ponderings. I am amazed that those controlling the media would allow it, but more importantly the bosses of these people.

    Worrying times, where will this end if allowed?

    Reply
  • 2. Stephen  |  August 20, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    WTF?? How can this possibly be allowed. Is this a communist state that we are living in where all the media is controlled?

    I know the FFA hate people asking questions and making negative comments about their mistakes and poor management but this is going to far.

    I will be writing to the communications minister to ask how this can be allowed.

    Reply
  • 3. Ben  |  August 20, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    It is a worry that the likes of Simon Hill would agree to be a part of this , but I have never heard of Jim Wilson, and the ABC, Seven and Ten cover hardly any football.

    As for Tara Rushton she knows nothing about football and is lost without auto cue. How she is still on air says a great deal. Adam Peacock is not much better, thinks he is funny and its all about him. Les is yesterday’s man and irrelevant now. As for Foster and Harper does any one take them seriously? Two mediocre players who offer little in terms of insights.

    All of these mentioned are already part of the propaganda, so what is the big deal, now its official and out in the open.

    Reply
  • 4. Not The Footy Show  |  August 21, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    Thank you all for your comments. I too am amazed that despite wanting to promote the event anyone in the media would publicly accept such a role. Whether they are influenced or not in what they say in the future as viewers we now will question the verity of what they say. Not good for the media or football in my opinion.

    Reply

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