AIPS / LAGOS: In another attempt to control news of African football, journalist Nazim Bessol from Algerian newspaper Botola has had his accreditation for the African Cup of Nations revoked.
The African national team’s championship starts on Friday when hosts Egypt face Zimbabwe in Cairo.
Initially Bessol received a confirmation approval letter with accreditation number 1206. However yesterday Bessol received an email from the African confederation CAF explaining, without justification, that his accreditation had been revoked and his status on the media channel had been altered from “approved” to “rejected”.
AIPS Africa has linked this to an investigation conducted by the journalist and the newspaper about the company Tactical Steel, whose mysterious role in a CAF kit deal with Adidas led to president Ahmad Ahmad being interrogated by French police over corruption allegations.
Mitchell Obi, president of AIPS Africa, said: “The association condemns the CAF decision to revoke Nazim Bessol’s accreditation and sees it as another attempt to stop the freedom of the media, a direct and blatant response to the investigations.”
Obi added: “I am already in direct contact with Gianni Merlo, head of international sports journalists’ association AIPS, for a global appraisal on what it is another assault on the independence of thought of the sports media.
“From the continental prism of AIPS Africa we are totally saddened by the resource of the CAF and the brutish show of disrespect to the sports media in Africa.
“This action comes from a team that promised change after winning the last CAF election. Its first despicable act was to scrap the CAF media committee in a bizarre logic of reorganisation, which partly includes annulling the accreditation of a sports journalist two days before the event.
“AIPS Africa firmly and fervently condemns this ominous act and shares with the Algerian Sports Media the same sentiments duly expressed in seeking an immediate reversal.”