Last Friday, we published that three Serbian players are infected by the coronavirus. The article was based on the official statements issued by Pro Recco and the Serbian Water Polo Federation. We emphasized that these two announcements had been sources for our article.
On Saturday, the Hungarian water polo federation published an announcement, where they stated that Total Waterpolo is “trying to connect” the Debrecen tournament with positive COVID-19 cases in Serbian national and presenting that as “story of our lives”.
Since they haven’t responded to our request to publish a denial, we are publishing our email sent on Sunday to Hungarian water polo federation president Attila Vári and his media team.
Dear Mr. Vári,
I was unpleasantly surprised by the announcement that MVLSZ published yesterday on the official website – http://www.waterpolo.hu/hir/11257/kozlemeny/.
This level of unprofessionalism is something I could never expect from, in my humble opinion, the best organized water polo federation in the world.
Let me briefly point out all the omissions in your announcement:
- You haven’t linked/quoted our article, which would help the audience to understand what you are referring to. I understand that this would make your announcement completely pointless, but this is really journalism basics.
- The statement that we are trying to connect infected players with the Debrecen tournament is completely misplaced. Our text clearly states: “The three showed symptoms after returning to Serbia from Debrecen, where they played for the national team at the World League Qualification Tournament”. This is a plain chronological fact in simple English language. Nowhere in the entire article is a single sentence ambiguous or opinionated.
- The statement in which you (MVLSZ; there is no author signed) “find it sad that some people (inferring by that Total Waterpolo – since we are the only subject mentioned in the announcement) view this story as if it were the story of their lives”, is on the other hand an opinion, and a slanderous one at that. I can only suggest that you reconsider your hiring process, as any PR knows that passive-aggressive sentences have no place in official statements.
The reason why I’m writing this email is because Total Waterpolo is an international brand owned by a private company. We have invested a lot of money, time, and energy to create Total Waterpolo – an independent media that delivers high-quality, objective journalism to water polo fans everywhere.
Maybe people at your organization (who wrote and made a decision to publish this announcement) don’t understand that they are directly impacting our business and reputation, but their ignorance does not dispute their responsibility.
Following the above, we expect you to publish a denial of the disputed announcement containing an apology to Total Waterpolo and our employees, at the latest on Monday, 18th January 2020.
Otherwise, we will be forced to take all necessary action to protect our brand reputation and our media rights of freedom of expression and freedom of information in the EU.
I sincerely hope that all this was a reckless move by an individual and that in the future we will have the opportunity to communicate on much more positive and constructive topics.
All the best and take care,