AIPS ASIA Congress begins tomorrow

We have gathered under one roof to make more achievements: Al-Sahli; This is a positive turning point in the ASPU and I am extremely happy that Jeddah is part of this event: Merlo


By Hussain Al-Sharif

Okaz/Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH – The Saudi Sports Media Federation will host the 21st general assembly of the Asian Sports Press Association (AIPS ASIA) at the Ritz Carlton in Jeddah Friday with more than 75 members representing the sports media forums in Asia participating.

Gianni Merlo, chairman of the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) will attend the meeting in addition to the chairman of the Asian Sports Media Federation, Sattam Al-Sahli from Kuwait.

Secretary-General of the Asian forum, Amjad Aziz Malik, from Pakistan, chairman of the American sports press union, Gabriel Kazinaf from Paraguay, chairman of the African sports press federation Michel Obi, from Nigeria, chairman of the Arab sports press federation Mohammed Jameel Abdul Qadir from Jordan, Charles Kaminzouli from Malta, member of the AIPS and John Walker, member of the British Sports Press Union, will attend the meeting which will continue for three days.

The meeting of the Asian forum comes at a time when the Saudi sports media is witnessing rapid and solid developments under the chairmanship of Dr. Raja Allah Al-Sulami, chairman of the Saudi Sports Media Federation (SSMF), which is receiving tangible support from Turki Al-Asheikh, adviser at the royal court and chairman both of the Saudi Sports Authority and the Saudi Olympic Committee.

The executive bureau of the AIPS ASIA will also hold a meeting during these days which will witness a seminar about the future of the sports media, a working paper on the women sports press, a presentation by the young sports correspondents and listen to the expertise of the veteran sports journalists.

There will also be a power-point presentation by the AIPS ASIA and at the end of the meeting, the flag of the federation will be handed over to the representative of the country hosting the next congress.

Speaking about the event, Gianni Merlo underlined the importance of the gathering for the unity between Asia and the AIPS.

“This is a positive turning point we are witnessing in the ASPU and I am extremely happy that Jeddah is part of this event,” he said.

He recalled that Asia was the venue of many international sports events and said the continent would continue this role because it is the center of the world attention.

“In Asia and in many other parts of the world we are facing increasing challenges and we, as sports journalists, are being targeted with fake news which are twisting the facts,” he added.

Merlo said unfortunately these machinations are successful in most of the times in their bad intentions. “Our duty is to study the best method of defending ourselves as we cannot wait for the others and the people in the authority to help us,” he said.

He said most of the foul players are hiding in the places of authority. “We have preventive strategies to preserve our professional dignity and we have to proceed on this especially that our primary role in the society and our modus operandi are embodied in the freedom of expression and the importune of presenting the correct information,” he said.

Merlo said it was important to improve their working equipment and to be armed with determination and humbleness to uplift their cultural level. “We have to perfect our profession and be thorough and accurate. We have to focus on the investigative reporting as the sports and the sports media need clarity of vision, “ he said.

Merlo was confident that the ASPU would undertake a significant role in the future and said that their meeting in Jeddah should send a message to the future generation of sports journalists. “We should make it clear that our union will defend our work and develop it by all the available means,” he concluded.

He thanked Al-Sulami profusely for his intricate role in organizing the meeting of the 21st General Assembly of the ASPU. Al-Sahli expressed his happiness over the meeting and congratulated the SSMF which has written a new history for the Kingdom.

He said a year ago the meeting of the general assembly of the ASPU was just a dream. “We are not here to cry over the past but we have gathered under one roof to make more achievements,” he said.

Al-Sahli said the attendance of the members of the union from 30 countries in addition to seven delegations from Europe, Africa and America was a reflection of the great leap in our efforts to support the sports journalism in Asia.

He said the meeting will witness the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) would be signed between the ASPU and the Asian Football Federation as well as training programs for the young sports correspondents and workshops about the women in sports.

“The youth represent a great asset for us as decision makers and we will work together for a better future,” he added.

On his part, Malik said he was proud to be part of the organizing team and appreciate the SSMF for hosting this great event. He said though the ASPU has existed for the last four decades but only during the past two years it had proved that it was successful, brave and daring.

Malik said that the ASPU held meetings in Islamabad, Kuala Lumpur, Nepal and Bahrain but its meeting in Jeddah was the cream of all these meetings as it represents the crux of the achievements.

“Despite problems, we are endeavoring to find a new momentum that would change things in the future,” he added.