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Finnish media outlets could boycott World Ice Hockey Championships

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Finnish media outlets could boycott World Ice Hockey Championships

Journalists entering Belarus to cover the tournament will have to apply for separate credentials if they wish to report on anything outside the tournament; those only reporting on the tournament do not require visas.

Initially, the Finnish media were under the impression that their reporters could report freely while in the country if they registered via the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF).

World Editors Forum board member and Editor in Chief of the Finnish newspaper Kavela, Markku Mantila, told WAN-IFRA that many journalists were interpreting the regulations as a form of censorship.

“The decision has caused concern at least in Finland, but I believe the feeling is the same around the hockey-world. We in Finland find the decision made by Belarus officials nothing but censorship,” Mantila said.

The Yle Uutiset article said three Finnish news outlets, Yle, Helsingin Sanomat, and Ilta Sanomat, were considering boycotting the tournament if their reporters were not guaranteed full journalistic freedom. The Helsinki Times writes that Finland’s largest news and picture agency, STT-Lehtikuva, will also inform Belarus of its intentions to cover non-hockey stories.

Yle Uutiset quotes Atte Jääskeläinen, Yle’s Director of News, Current Affairs and Sport:  “There should be certainty that it is possible to operate according to normal western principles there."

The story also quotes Kalervo Kummola, the Vice President of the IIHF and President of the Finnish Ice Hockey Federation. Kummola hinted at the possibility of the tournament being cancelled entirely due to the issues surrounding press freedom, but admitted that it was a long shot.

IIHF Communications Manager Adam Steiss said in an email to WAN-IFRA: “Nothing has changed regarding the media accreditation policy of the 2014 World Championship that was sent out to media in September 2013…The IIHF does not have jurisdiction over a country’s legislation including media regulations, and we have made it clear that journalists who plan to come to the World Championship to cover hockey but instead choose to cover other subjects that are unrelated to the sport or to the Championship should be aware of this regulation.”

The IIHF plans to convene at the Sochi Olympics to discuss its next course of action


Salim Valji


2014-01-29 17:16

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The World Editors Forum is the organisation within the World Association of Newspapers devoted to newspaper editors worldwide. The Editors Weblog (, launched in January 2004, is a WEF initiative designed to facilitate the diffusion of information relevant to newspapers and their editors.

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