Minister defends Pacific Games live streaming ban

Live streaming of Pacific Games sporting events is prohibited for all media outlets, says Chairman for the Pacific Games Committee, Loau Keneti Solamalemalo Sio. 

Loau, who is also the Minister of Education Sports and Culture, said the terms and conditions of how media personnel did their job came with the passes that they were issued by the Pacific Games Office.

“For media, the terms and conditions are set out on the media accreditation (media pass) that points to prohibition of broadcasting; record any images and videos," he said.

“The rules are set out in the pass and the overseas media are more than welcome to send out still photos."

He was responding to concerns raised by the Federated States of Micronesia (F.S.M.) Chef De Mission, Alik Jackson, over the ban on live streaming. 

“This is the only way our people back home can see their sons and daughters play and it is sad the restriction put on the media is depriving our people from seeing their athletes on the field," Jackson said. 

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“And looking at the TV coverage, they are mainly focused on main teams and neglecting us in the picture,” said Jackson.

But Loau said other Pacific Islands brought their mainstream media and they are focusing on the progress of their national athletes and countries like the F.S.M. should have done the same. 

“And that is exactly what should have happened with F.S.M. American Samoa brought their TV station crew as well as the other islands and they are focusing on their athletes. 

“The Pacific Games Office had a signed agreement with the Melanesian Media group and this was one of the conditions. They have the exclusive rights to broadcasting the games and this is why we put restrictions on the media. 

“Although we cannot control the public from streaming live, we can try and minimise it by having volunteers monitor each respective venues,” added Loau. 

The Minister was unclear as to how many volunteers were assigned to monitor the “media” but noted that it is in the hundreds. 

He said live streaming on social media is also fairly new technology and was only introduced some three years ago. 

“In 2015, the last Pacific Games, the media did not have the option to live stream and now they do; hence placing restrictions on it as it will defeat the purpose of exclusive rights  being awarded to M.M.G., when other media can just broadcast the event live,” he said.

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