HSJA offers little financial help to colleagues with no source of income

Csisztu Zsuzsa – AIPS EC Member   

BUDAPEST, May 12, 2020 – With the coronavirus pandemic paralysing our life in all aspects, including the sporting world and our profession, here is an update on the situation on sports journalists in Hungary, including decisions and good practices that might help save jobs for colleagues all over the world.

According to the latest news release about the restrictions in the country, “The government has decided to allow sports events to take place throughout Hungary from Monday, as long as they are held without spectators. Training sessions both for professionals and amateurs can also be held behind closed doors. The new measure will allow the football league to go ahead. Sándor Csányi, the association’s president, said that league matches may go ahead from May 23 to June 13.”

– However this does not automatically mean that journalists will be allowed into the events as well.

– So, we, the HSJA, have been lobbying strongly since the beginning of the pandemic, in order to avoid that imminent scenario where sporting events restarting without spectators, would also mean without sport journalists – claiming it’s for the sake of their health. Of course, in any sporting event without spectators, we believe that social distancing can be guaranteed.

– The Sport Minister, Dr. Tünde Szabó has announced that the sport events organised without spectators, should allow coaches, judges, referees, health officials, doping-control teams, the leadership of the clubs, the technical officials of the venue, as well as the representatives of the PRESS to enter the events.

– The Hungarian Sport Journalists’ Association has created many years ago a Solidarity Committee, named after Mr. István Szombathy, former deputy general secretary of AIPS, with a financial basis, in order to help offer immediate financial help to those colleagues who lose their jobs, and are left without ANY income. This is a one-time occasion, with the maximum of approx. 250 Euros, which is of course not a big help, but something in the worst cases.

– The HSJA’s president, Mr. György Szöllősi on behalf of the HSJA has written a request directly to government with our initials to extend the tax and contribution-payments relief announced by the government to freelance journalists who are currently unemployed and do not have an employer who could benefit from the relief.

– We have already received an answer from the Prime Minister’s office informing us about the contemplation of our request.

– It is important for us, in order to stabilize our financial situation, that the leadership of the Hungarian Physical Education allowed us to suspend the payment of renting expenses at our headquarters of the HSJA.

– We, at the HSJA can also continue to financially support the publishing of sport-related books, within our national program called Nagy Béla- program. We have a lot of submissions, so it means many sport journalists have started to work on sport-themed books to try to make a living.

– Summarising the situation, even though there might be a release on the strong restriction regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, we would encourage the global institution and association of sport journalists, AIPS that on behalf of our global association, we should make a petition, in which we refuse any kind of intentions, or actions trying to close out sport journalists from the sporting events in the future, because it would be a serious violation of freedom of expression and freedom of the press, that is unacceptable in any place of the world.

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