SEOUL, May 9, 2017 – by Sonja Nikcevic, AIPS Media –  In less than a year the epicenter of international sport is set to shift towards the Asian continent, with the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, and 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo. In anticipation of the shift that will have a significant mark on sports journalism as a whole, the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) will hold its milestone elective 80th Congress in the home of next year’s Winter Games, in Seoul and PyeongChang, South Korea.

The Congress will bring together more than 250 delegates and guests for five days of discussions and debate on the state of the profession and the issues plaguing international sport including freedom of the press, integrity, corruption and doping.

Those present for the Congress will also have the opportunity to hear from IAAF President Sebastian Coe directly on the ongoing issue transparency as the world of athletics faces a crucial couple of months ahead of the World Championships in London in August.

Focus on Asia

The organizers of the Tokyo 2020 will provide the Congress with an overview of the state of preparations and the press conditions for the next Summer Olympic Games, while representatives of FISU will offer details on media services for the 2017 Summer Universiade in Taipei to be held this summer. Further focus on Asia will be detailed through an overview of the 2019 FINA World Championships in Gwangju and the 5th Asian Indoor Games in Turkmenistan in September.

Panel on journalism

Journalists from more than 120 countries will hear about the UEFA Women’s EURO 2017 to be held in the Netherlands in July in a historic increased format of 16 teams, while one of the main highlights of the Congress will be the Panel on investigative journalism to be led by Germany’s Hajo Seppelt, who broke the story on state-organized doping of Russian athletes in 2014.

AIPS Executive Committee member Jean Paul Savart will speak about the issues facing journalists’ access to sources and radio rights with a focus on the monopoly of radio broadcast rights at the 2017 edition of the IHF World Cup held in France in January.

After two full days in the South Korean capital of Seoul, the Congress will move to PyeongChang, where the stay will include visit of the venues for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, with nine months to go.

Elective Congress

Along with starting the Olympic countdown to PyeongChang 2018, the 80th AIPS Congress is also be elective in nature, marking a new four-year term for the association’s leadership. The final full day of the Congress in PyeongChang will include elections for the positions of president, vice president, treasurer and for the members of the Executive Committee. Elections will also be held for the Executive Committees of AIPS Europe and AIPS Africa.

“Korea is a safe country”

The 80th edition will be the third time that Korea hosts the AIPS Congress, after successful outings in 1987 and more recently in 2011.

President of the Korea Sports Press Union (KSPU), the organizers of the 2017 Congress, Mr Hee Don Jung expressed his pride at welcoming so many journalists and members of the AIPS family back to Korea, during what may seem to many as a difficult political climate for the Asian nation.

“We has had a tumultuous political period leading up to the 80th Congress, but as I have assured many of our colleagues, South Korea is completely safe and ready to host journalists from all over the world for what I believe will be a very successful Congress,” Hee Don said, adding that the organizers had received full support from the Korean government, who will welcome a new head of state after the presidential elections on Tuesday, May 9th.

“The AIPS Congress is the ideal platform for discussing the current state of sports journalism, which is facing a number of serious issues connected to the rapid advance of commercialism and the lack of access to sources and venues for journalists. All of this will be discussed in the upcoming days.”

The KSPU president and AIPS Executive Committee member expressed his delight that so many journalists will have the opportunity to see that PyeongChang is ready to host the 2018 Winter Games in what says will be the best edition yet.

Luxembourg is represented in Seoul and PyeongChang by president Petz Lahure.

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