Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Long Arm of the Law

I've been busy on travel this week, lecturing on the Green Revolution, tornadoes and disasters. So I missed this important story:
Singapore-based World Sports Group (WSG) has started legal proceedings against veteran journalist and soccer scholar James M. Dorsey in a bid to silence sources and squash reporting about its relationship with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and disgraced FIFA vice president and AFC president Mohammed Bin Hammam, who is at the center of the worst corruption scandal in soccer history.

WSG has asked the Singapore High Court to instruct Mr. Dorsey to reveal how he may have come into possession of internal AFC documents, including an audit that puts on record unexplained payments of $14 million to Mr. Bin Hammam by one of the company’s shareholders in the walk-up to the signing of its controversial $1 billion marketing rights contract with the AFC. The report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) also raises questions about how WSG was chosen, the terms of the contract and how it was negotiated.

A syndicated columnist, blogger and senior fellow at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Mr. Dorsey reported extensively on the PwC report as well as the web of scandals that have wracked world soccer body FIFA and the AFC at which Mr. Bin Hammam, a Qatari national, is at the core. His reports have been posted on social media including Twitter, which has been cited in WSG’s petition to the court.
This story was written by ... James Dorsey. There is a complex connection made in the story between those exposed by Dorsey and those taking legal action against him under Singaporean law. The initial court date was to have been today ... news reports are silent on what transpired.

As far as I am aware the PwC report is not publicly available. However, for those who may be interested in leaking documents in the future, I'd suggest that US-based bloggers offer a safer/lesss risky alternative than others.

That said, Dorsey deserves broad support for simply reporting. He has mine. This story is worth following for anyone concerned about the media, transparency and freedom of speech.

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