A Victory For Press Conditions As Tokyo 2020 Announces Free Internet For Journalists And Photographers

A Victory For Press Conditions As Tokyo 2020 Announces Free Internet For Journalists And Photographers

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For the first time at an Olympic Games, free cabled internet and wifi access will be available to all journalists in all venues at Tokyo 2020. The completely new infrastructure, dubbed the “Press Network”, was announced on Tuesday in Tokyo at the World Press Briefing, marking the countdown until the Games open on July 24, 2020.

“The Press Network will provide every press tabled tribune position, every primary photo position in venues, as well as the VMC and the MPC with cabled internet. This access to the Press Network will be provided by Tokyo 2020 free of charge for all accredited press. The Press Network will be supported by robust wifi in all press areas in all venues, also free of charge,” the organizers stated.

The IOC’s Head of Media Operations Anthony Edgar has been the one working closely with the local organizing committee to make sure that media received the full benefit of innovation and access for the Games. It was also Edgar, who has been in his role for 16 years, who recognized the role of AIPS and its president Gianni Merlo in reaching this key moment in the fight for constantly improving press conditions.

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Six years’ work “Starting with London 2012, it was Gianni [Merlo] advocating that we really needed free internet for the Olympic media. This was supported by the IOC Press Committee members, and strongly so, but it is one thing to have free internet in one venue, or for one sport, but having it in 45 venues [at Tokyo 2020] is something quite different altogether,” Edgar said.

“Tokyo have taken it on themselves to lead in this respect, and it also shows the respect that they have for accredited media,” he added.

The level of innovation at Tokyo 2020 means that the Games are on course to become the most ‘high-tech’ ever, with 8K television and 5G technology, the Games INFO system and now, the innovative new Press Network, coupled with stable all access wifi.

“It’s a huge step up, in PyeongChang just last year, the price for a cabled internet package was 190 USD, while now, you can come in and sit down and be automatically connected and ready to do your job – for free. The entire infrastructure for internet is a completely new, and it’s very smart. Just by plugging in, based on your accreditation it recognizes what you need,” Edgar explained.

The pace of change “What needs to be put in perspective is that it was only 10 years ago, at Beijing 2008, that cabled internet was introduced at the Olympic Games, and that was just at one venue, the Olympic Stadium, and now, every cable and every photo position will be cabled,” Edgar said.

He also explained how much photographers would benefit from the new network.

“Photographers will now have direct internet access at all photo positions in each venue.,” Edgar said. They will be able to go to their photo positions, plug in and send material directly to their editors from their camera.”

The IOC and Tokyo 2020 also announced that along with the Press Network, there would be an additional cabled network for major news agencies, called Press Plus which will replace the old agency VLAN, and which would be a paid service.

A sign of the times “AIPS have been an advocate for press conditions at Olympic Games for so long, and free internet for journalists has been top of the agenda in that sense since London 2012. FIFA have already introduced this, so in that sense we are following suit, but again, doing it for one venue or five versus doing it for 45 venues and the MPC, took time and dedication, and it was a step towards a complete new infrastructure that the Toyko 2020 Organizing Committee was willing to take.

“In one sense, it’s a sign of the times, in another it shows that Tokyo 2020 understand that it’s important for all members of the accredited media to have access to internet, not just the big agencies,” Edgar concluded.

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Access The bid to provide as much access as possible for the Olympic media was also boosted by Tokyo 2020’s announcement of new remote interpretation initiative which will provide simultaneous interpretation for every press conference in competition venues and the MPC, and the news that all Tpress conferences will also now be streamed on the Games INFO system.

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