International news agencies threaten to boycott IPL over ‘restrictive’ conditions

Melbourne: The Indian Premier League organiser’s attempts to impose stringent media-accreditation guidelines could result in international news agencies boycotting the Twenty20 tournament for the second time in three years.

Already, non-rights-holding TV networks in India have vowed not to provide any coverage of the tournament, due to begin on March 12, in protest against what they consider as contentious clauses regarding the use of match footage.

Now, the News Media Coalition, the umbrella body that includes global news and photograph agencies Reuters, AP, AFP and Getty Images, is calling on the IPL executive to find a solution to widespread concerns about press freedom.

“Without changes, international news agencies are bound to consider not attending this year’s event to provide editorial coverage,” the coalition’s executive director, Andrew Moger, said.

“Newspapers in India and abroad are also known to be reconsidering their plans for coverage based on these arrangements,” The Age quoted Moger, as saying.

“As many publishers the world over rely upon news agencies for news material, the stance taken by the IPL can only serve to limit news and free promotional value of their event and brand,” he said.

The first IPL season two years ago was boycotted by international news agencies over certain contentious clauses in the media-accreditation guidelines, including a bar on supplying photographs to cricket-specific websites.

This year’s media-coverage guidelines for broadcasters have reduced the duration of match footage that news channels can carry to 30 seconds per bulletin and seven minutes a day.

Last year, broadcasters could use two minutes of fresh footage every half an hour, providing they did not exceed 5.5 minutes per match.

In 2010 repeats will be allowed three times a day, reduced from four previously, and while match footage could earlier be telecast with a five-minute delay from the end of the live telecast, it has been expanded to a half-hour delay. (ANI)

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