Pakistan in India 2012-13 December 24, 2012

BCCI photo stand-off goes on

ESPNcricinfo staff

International news agencies have suspended coverage of Pakistan's cricket tour of India - the first in five years - over the BCCI's decision to bar some of their photo counterparts.

The blackout continued a stand-off with the BCCI that first began during England's Test series in India in November and which shows no signs of being resolved.

News outlets said they would not be filing any text or pictures after the BCCI again refused to accredit the international picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images as well as two Indian agencies. Some news organisations, including ESPNcricinfo, that have depended on these agencies have used the pictures made available on the BCCI website.

The BCCI's stance is based upon the belief that it has a monopolistic right to all commercial revenue from photographic coverage of the games it stages, immediate news coverage apart. Support is coming from behind the scenes from key commercial figures in Cricket Australia.

"It is regrettable that the politically-charged Pakistan tour will be affected by the BCCI's failure to recognise the long-standing importance of photographic news agencies in the flow of sport and news images every day," said the News Media Coalition, which represents a group of media organisations.

International agencies who are members of the coalition, such as AFP, Thomson Reuters and the Associated Press, will halt text and photo coverage.

English newspapers and some websites refused to use images supplied by the BCCI during the England tour and instead used file pictures, cartoons or hurried paintings by the cricket artist Jocelyn Galsworthy.

Great moments in England cricket history, such as the 19 wickets shared by the spinners Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar in the Mumbai Test, have only scant photographic record. Getty Images' Gareth Copley and freelance photographers such as Phil Brown and Graham Morris have a worldwide reputation for the quality of their cricket photos and all were either barred or supported the dispute during the England tour.

"As a direct result of the BCCI stance, great sporting moments from the cricket tours to India are going unrecorded and therefore lost forever. England's games were the hidden series and the Pakistan tour is heading for the same fate," said Andrew Moger, executive director of the NMC.

The World Association of Newspapers is backing the suspension, saying the BCCI was "denying the ability of editors to select from the best of photography for the benefit of readers".

A BCCI spokesman declined to comment but did refer reporters to a statement issued for the England tour, which said there was "no intention to censor or limit bona fide news reporting" and emphasised that news agencies had been accredited.

The photo agencies however had been refused as the BCCI deemed "their primary businesses involved the commercial sale and licensing of images rather than the supply of images to news publications for bona fide editorial purposes".

The BCCI has refused to draw up specific agreements with these photo agencies so that they can cover the tour under new terms and conditions.

Pakistan's tour begins with a Twenty20 fixture in Bangalore on Tuesday.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on December 27, 2012, 8:23 GMT

    So here we go again, with the BCCI attempting to create a cricket world in their own image. Have they forgotten that sport is not just about money and that eventually nobody wants to play with playground bullies. It surely is just matter of time.

  • Harvey on December 27, 2012, 7:07 GMT

    Disappointing to see Cricinfo failing to back the boycott. Obviously Cricinfo is quite happy to be using only the pictures the BCCI wants us to see.

  • Rick on December 26, 2012, 5:54 GMT

    The BCCI is a tin-pot regime whose leaders randomly do whatever they fancy, regardless of international consensus or image. This, in combination with the Indian team's ineptitude, makes for some nice stand-up comedy (didn't Srinivasan say he considered test cricket the pinnacle of the game? That's got to be the joke of 2012). The support the BCCI enjoys among Indian fans on this forum is quite incredible: possibly no other country's supporters would countenance such blatant abuse of power by their cricket board. The fact that such behavior is to the detriment of relations with other international teams and makes them a laughing stock in a world that respects only talent and natural ability (not wealth, and certainly not wealth unaccompanied by talent), does not seem to bother them one whit. Amazing.

  • Unni on December 25, 2012, 9:48 GMT

    @sheru001: Well said the only thing SLC has control over is their players who they cannot stop from playing IPL

  • Prashan on December 25, 2012, 9:37 GMT

    @golgoal, just look at your own fellow Indian fans. Many of them oppose BCCI abusing it's power. Being powerful does not give you the license to abuse it. Of course cricket being a global minority sport means BCCI can rule cricket freely. I am glad to see many Indian cricket fans supporting DRS and accusing Srinivasan of his stubbornness. Well it is not only we SL who are powerless. Even NZ and WI are powerless. That was why we had to succumb to release our players for the next edition of IPL and postpone the test series in the Caribbean.

  • silky on December 25, 2012, 8:26 GMT

    news agencies keep it up and isolate bcci from the rest of the world. i support u all

  • Swami on December 25, 2012, 6:20 GMT

    I wish I could run a business like these photo agencies where I can demand that my raw material cost is zero and I can charge whatever for my final product. Plenty of photographers are being allowed who are filing pictures for their editorial content in their newspapers contrary to what is being claimed. BCCI is "denying the ability of editors to select from the best of photography for the benefit of readers" FOR FREE ! The world association of newspapers have conveniently left out the last part.

  • Nausherwan on December 25, 2012, 6:09 GMT

    @golgoal: I think this golgoal is a bit sentimental, the power of Srilanka cricket is that they banned Indian players to take part in SLPL whereas all big names of Srilanka cricket are in IPL.

  • Dummy4 on December 25, 2012, 4:23 GMT

    i dont know where this is coming from such a shame