Chess Olympiad: Media Covering Event Faces FIDE Restrictions
Image: AFP

Chennai: The international chess federation (FIDE) has imposed restrictions on the Indian media covering the 44th Chess Olympiad, said Tamil Nadu government officials on Saturday. On Saturday, media professionals got a message from the state government information department listing a series of new norms and restrictions. The message said the “media cannot reach the venue on their own vehicle — they have to board the bus arranged by the state government; only 50 media persons will be allowed per day on rotation basis, and only media persons holding the state government accreditation card, email from FIDE or those having passes issued by FIDE can be allowed to board the bus.”

Representatives of several leading publications have not been issued accreditation cards by the state government for the past couple of years due to a pending court case. Besides, there are journalists who have not received emails from FIDE for the coverage of the Olympiad.

In addition, the FIDE passes are at the Olympiad venue, which is about 80km from Chennai.

“The restrictions are as per FIDE instructions. We can’t do anything,” a state government official told IANS.

Prior to the start of the Olympiad, the media officials of FIDE and All India Chess Federation (AICF) had told IANS that passes have to be collected by reporters at the venue, which is about two-hours’ drive from the city.

The FIDE spokesperson had then told IANS that reporters can collect the passes on any day at the venue.

Given the situation, several reporters are in a quandary — they don’t have the FIDE email, FIDE media accreditation pass or the state government’s accreditation pass — to cover the event.

The FIDE officials did not responded to IANS when asked for comment.

The public relation agency hired by AICF had earlier sent invites for a press conference to select the media.

The FIDE officials, who had inspected the venue and hotels where the event, players and officials are to being hosted, seem to have forgotten to check on the facilities for journalists.