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GOLDOC responds to AIPS claims that journalists are disadvantaged by accommodation policy

GC2018 Mascot, "Borobi". (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)
by Roslyn Morris, AIPS Secretary General

SYDNEY, November 1, 2016 – “The reaction from Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) to AIPS claims that journalists are being disadvantaged by GOLDOC’s accommodation policy is very disappointing,” says AIPS President, Gianni Merlo.

AIPS reported earlier this week that media booking rooms via GOLDOC’s Accommodation Reservation System will be required to pay 100% of the cost of accommodation up front if booking nine rooms or less.

GOLDOC General Manager of Venues and Operations, Ian Whitehead responded to AIPS, saying the 100% payment for individual media clients – this is standard practice on the Gold Coast and more broadly around Australia when booking accommodation during peak periods.

“A range of accommodation options for the world’s broadcasters, press and photographers have been secured by GOLDOC including cost-effective options for individual media representatives, Mr Whitehead said.

“Rooms have been secured in close proximity to the Main Press Centre (MPC) with the majority of properties within a reasonable distance of the MPC and Media Transport Mall (MTM). The Gold Coast is a popular tourist destination for national and international visitors and the rates offered are considered very competitive during this key event and holiday period,” he added.

“Should an individual wish to book rooms such as these via an agent or online site, 100 per cent payment would be expected at the time of booking,” Mr Whitehead said.

“GOLDOC is providing a full refund to any media clients should they not receive accreditation. Similarly, GOLDOC will also refund 90% of the total paid until November 2017 if for any reason the booking is cancelled. This is not a standard industry practice and one GOLDOC has worked with the accommodation operators to secure. The booking terms are considered very flexible reflecting the fact that the accommodation has been allocated exclusively for media. WiFi is free and included in the accommodation rates with bandwidth varying from property to property,” he concluded.

ONLY LARGE AGENCIES AND MEDIA COMPANIES CAN AFFORD TO COVER A COMM GAMES

“It will come to the stage where only the large agencies and media companies will be able to afford to cover a Commonwealth Games,” AIPS President Gianni Merlo said.

“This does not auger well for a balanced coverage of international sports events.”

“GOLDOC’s policy clearly discriminates against the freelancer or staff member of a small or medium-sized media house. It’s already expensive enough to travel to Australia and the added burden of having to pay 100% of the accommodation up front will tip many organisations over the edge,” Merlo added.

AIPS TO RECOMMEND ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS

"AIPS will recommend that its members covering the 2018 Commonwealth Games seek alternative accommodation options," the AIPS president said.

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