Friday, February 19, 2010
Media uproar over stadium entry
File pictures show work in progress one week before the Dhyan Chand Stadium was opened.
“Security angle” would continue to be used to prevent the media from snooping around the stadium and reporting on the incomplete, dug-up, dusty conditions inside the complex".
NEW DELHI: Hockey India (HI) President Vidya Stokes had a tough time on Thursday dealing with mediapersons, who demanded a satisfactory explanation from the federation as to why the media was being barred from entering the National Stadium and witnessing the practice of the Indian team in the build-up to the Hero Honda World Cup tournament.
The media has not been allowed to watch the practice at the World Cup venue ever since the Indian team shifted its training base from Pune to Delhi more than a fortnight ago.
When asked what had led to the situation that the media was unable to report on the Indian team with such an important tournament just 10 days away, Mrs. Stokes, present at a press conference for the announcement of ING Life's partnership with the World Cup, said, “It is a question of security. The guidelines have been given by the Government and we have to follow them.”
Loss for words
However, when mediapersons vociferously demanded to know who set such unprecedented and preposterous guidelines, Mrs. Stokes was at a loss for words to explain. “How can I say who decided? I cannot name anybody,” she said before hurriedly leaving the venue.
A photographer was detained by the police on the first day of practice of the Indian team and journalists have been demanding access to the stadium ever since without getting a response from the authorities. HI has so far pleaded its helplessness by stating that the stadium authorities (Sports Authority of India) had brought in such restrictions.
The SAI, in turn has tried to pass the buck, stating that it was a restriction imposed by the international federation (FIH).
With no one to co-ordinate media access to the stadium and with security becoming the most important issue in recent weeks, there is a growing feeling here that the “security angle” would continue to be used to prevent the media from snooping around the stadium and reporting on the incomplete, dug-up, dusty conditions inside the complex.
Sources in the organising committee said that the police had only on Wednesday night suggested unprecedented restrictions for entry through the main gate during the tournament for only accreditation card holders, posing a question mark over the arrangements for ticket-holders and invitees, from India and abroad, who would be seated on the pavilion side.