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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Killjoys wait to pounce on media

In today's Advertiser Geoff Roach bemoans the stringent pass controls with which all the media, including the large English contingent visiting Adelaide for the Test (or is it the opportunity to visit the Barossa and McLaren Vale?) have to comply:

At latest count, some 130 accredited journos - most of them blow-ins from Blighty - will descend on Adelaide Oval tomorrow intent on relaying every action and nuance to their readers, listeners and watchers. Because of the resultant crush, many will not even be allocated a seat.

But all have been issued with a chillingly comprehensive document - called the Media Accreditation Terms and Conditions (MATC) - which specifies where they can go and what they can and cannot do, wear, eat, photograph, etc. etc. Hence my nervousness.

Fair dinkum, if you think Cricket Australia's restrictions on paying spectators are fearsome - no beach balls, musical instruments, laughter or other visible signs of fun - you should have gander at the MATC.

Having read and re-read the document several times, I fear - no I know - I may well blunder into breaching some of its more obscure tenets. In which case the security force - which, apparently, is of similar number to that of the fourth estate - may well banish me.

Take the matter of attire. Jeans, says the MATC, are acceptable Oval clobber for journos - but only if they are not torn or frayed.

Female journos are, however, required to be "neat and casual at all times" and may not wear "rubber thongs or revealing attire."

Conversing with friends or family is also fraught with danger. According to MATC, "SACA security has been instructed to escort any children and friends from the media facilities."

Being a total technical troglodyte, I am also a monty to be in breach of stipulations relating to internet sites, mobile phones, podcasts and strangely named electronic paraphernalia of which I have no understanding.

Accordingly, to avoid disgrace and embarrassment, I intend to behave at this Test match precisely as I have on previous occasions.

That is, I will avoid sitting anywhere near media facilities or security personnel; observe the first session from the garden seats in the Members'; and subsequently adjourn to the tennis courts' refreshment area in order to garner the wisdom of those who know a damn sight more about cricket than do I. See you there.

The MATC seems to be an expanded version of the Cricket Australia conditions of entry (probably minus the drinking restrictions), with a leavening (if that's the appropriate term) of the SACA members' dress code. Geoff at least can escape, as many other members will do, to the hospitality facilities behind the stands where you can eat, drink and watch the play (with uncensored replays) on the TV sets there.

I'll wait to hear about the first journalist to be evicted for breaching the MATC.

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