The new controversial monopoly-like policy that AGON is trying to place over common chess heritage – the freedom of chess moves – has provoked massive reaction on websites, social media, and forums. All started with an open letter by Chessdom CEO which brought up the issue for public discussion and was followed by a Twitter storm, 500+ protest emails in the editorial inbox on March 9th, and over 100 000 unique reads of the case.
However, the initial problem for online broadcast has spread to other levels of coverage too. Due to the new AGON’s policy, trying to prevent leakage of moves, tens of journalists that traveled thousands of miles to Moscow from India, USA, Germany, Spain, etc. are now stranded – they are not going to be allowed to report on chess moves from the playing hall until TWO hours after the end(!) of the games.
The attack on free speech and journalism by AGON’s policy was enhanced by the lack of proper accreditation as of March 10th at noon local time, just hours before the start of the opening ceremony. The famous chess photographer Maria Emelianova reported, “I’m not only surprised by the ridiculous broadcast announcement but also still can’t get any reply regarding accreditation” and added “way new level in chess indeed”. The chess tournaments broadcast specialist and creative professional Lennart Ootes was also shocked, “Media accreditation 7 days ago – no reply yet. Anyone got better luck?”
While the journalists are in limbo both in Moscow and in their respective online and offline media, AGON have 24 hours to make peace with journalists. After all, this might turn out to be the easiest problem ahead of them (details to follow) and is solvable by just removing the legal bullying and officially setting free the journalists to do their proper work.