Samsung row: Nokia steps in to help Indian bloggers
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For two bloggers from India the opportunity to cover the Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA) consumer electronics show in Berlin turned sour after electronics giant Samsung reportedly promised it would pay for their flights and accommodation, but later backed out after differences emerged over what was expected of them, media reports said.
Clinton Jeff and a colleague were told on arriving that they would be issued uniforms and expected to work as staff on the booths – showing off new Samsung products to the press, rather than writing about them, the Guardian reported.
When the duo protested, Samsung withdrew their funding – leaving them stranded.
However, mobile phone maker Nokia's representatives heard about the issue and the company stepped in to pay for Jeff's accommodation and travel costs. He is now expected only to cover IFA as he had originally intended.
Samsung said there had been a "misunderstanding".
Jeff and his companion blogger insisted they had told Samsung that they would only travel if they could work as independent journalists and look at other companies' stands at the show. However, Samsung representatives at the show insisted that they had agreed to be "promoters" of the product, which entailed wearing a uniform and showing off the products at its booth. Samsung said in a statement: "Samsung Mobilers is a voluntary community of active Samsung mobile device users, who are offered the opportunity to participate in our marketing events across the world. At these events, all activities they undertake are on a voluntary basis. No activities are forced upon them."
The Guardian said, the incident exposed a dark underbelly to technology reporting and blogging – in which companies offer rewards to bloggers, who often do not acknowledge that they are writing posts not for their news value to readers, but because they want to get free products and even trips.
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