Tehran – The Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) has called on the International Olympic Council (IOC) to prioritize free-to-air broadcasters when distributing Olympic Games’ broadcast rights and to sell the rights directly to FTA broadcasters in the ABU region. These were among the main concerns highlighted by the “Tehran Declaration on Media Coverage of the Olympic Games” adopted by the 44th ABU General Assembly in Iran on Nov. 3. The ABU General Assembly also appealed to Asia Pacific governments to enact laws to keep the Olympic Games on free TV. The ABU, which negotiates broadcast rights fees on behalf of its members via a sports pool, has been pressured to “unbundle” broadcast rights to sporting events as governing bodies of various sports wanted to sell them separately to operators of different media platforms. The General Asssembly also elected Manuel Goncalves of Teledifusao de Macau (TDM) and Dr Hasan Khojasteh of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting as new Vice Presidents of ABU. They replace Radio Television Hong Kong’s Chu Pui-hing who retired as Director of Broadcasting in July, and IRIB-Iran’s Mohammad Honardoost, who died in September. Selected from 199 submissions, including 141 for TV categories, the rest for radio, ABU prizes were presented at the General Assembly. Radio and Television of the People’s Republic of China received special commendation for drama Fragrance and news program 16 Seconds to Live or to Die, as well as two radio awards. Japan’s NHK took the Entertainment award for Isao Tomita: Symphony for Buh Poh Soh, Sports award for Shizuka Arakawa: The Bid for Gold, as well as special commendation for drama, The Vulture Part 1: Buy Japan Out!, and documentary, Targeted for Takeover. Thailand’s MCOT won the Dennis Anthony Memorial Award for best news coverage of the year by a member of Asiavision, ABU’s daily news exchange. The ABU Broadcast Engineering Excellence Award was presented to Seoul Broadcasting System’s Kim Sangjin, while the ABU Engineering Industry Excellence Award went to Ding Wenhua of RTPRC/China Central Television.