England in India 2012-13 November 13, 2012

Media boycott threatened over BCCI stance

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Major news agencies could boycott the series between India and England in protest at restrictions imposed upon journalists by the BCCI.

The News Media Coalition (NMC), which campaigns for media freedom around the world and represents a large number of media organisations, has issued a statement saying it "deplored" a decision by the India board to bar photo agencies such as Getty Images and Action Images. The BCCI have said they will supply their own images of the series, which starts with the first Test in Ahmedabad on Thursday, to be downloaded from their website.

"The NMC, an international organisation which defends the ability of the press to inform the public with independent news material, has urged the BCCI to withdraw the policy which will hit media coverage, fans and the sponsors involved with teams," a NMC statement read. "Getty Images and Action Images and Indian photographic agencies have been barred by the BCCI for this latest cricket series."

Agence France-Presse (AFP) announced they would suspend text and photo coverage unless the matter could be resolved ahead of the series. AFP stated that it "strongly believes the right of the media to cover news events without undue restrictions should be protected", adding it hoped "the BCCI will lift its policy so news media and fans can continue to get independent coverage".

Reuters and the Associated Press also said they may be forced to suspend coverage. Other news organisations are considering their positions, fearing that the BCCI's policy may set a precedent.

"The BCCI has offered to make its own photographs available but this is no substitute for independent and objective press photography," Andrew Moger, executive director of NMC, said. "Despite numerous opportunities, the BCCI has yet to explain why it is discriminating against photographic agencies or indeed whether other news sectors will be targeted. We deplore this move and insult to organisations which have supported cricket worldwide."

BCCI media manager Devendra Prabhudesai said the board was not seeking to bar news agencies. "The BCCI has a policy not to accredit photo syndication services like Getty Images and other similar foreign and domestic agencies," he told AFP. "We have no such problems with AFP, AP or Reuters since their text and photo service is for editorial use only. We have already explained our stand to the News Media Coalition."

The episode is the latest dispute between the BCCI and media organisations in the run-up to the series. Sky TV, which owns the television rights for the tour in the UK, decided not to send its team of commentators to India after the BCCI demanded £500,000 for hosting them in the grounds. Sky refused to pay and will instead commentate from a live television feed in London.

The BBC, which owns the rights for audio coverage in the UK, was also asked for an extra £50,000 but reached an agreement with the BCCI.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on November 16, 2012, 10:35 GMT

    @YorkshirePudding Why would the BCCI want to have a studio during the Champions Trophy/when India tour England? They do not broadcast India's away matches, ESPN-Star does and ESPN-Star also happen to be the official broadcasters of all global ICC events.

  • PurushothamanSrinivasan on November 15, 2012, 4:01 GMT

    whover pulls out mate, BCCI will rule over as long as there is indian audience. BCCI is cash rich because of Indian audience within India, any audience or media attention overseas is a bonus but they are not a major market share for them. So when SKY and BBC demand a lot of bucks from poor nations for copyrights i dont think BCCI is doing anything wrong asking them money. i can watch BBC online videos from Australia, only UK audience can watch it free, you have to pay for it otherwise and even a highlights from SKY website is not free, so why are they playing poor? i think BCCI shouldnt budge and ask them to pay or else bye bye.

  • Wharfeseamer on November 14, 2012, 19:49 GMT

    This has nothing to do with money. It's just a petty power trip. They are doing it because they can

  • dummy4fb on November 14, 2012, 17:33 GMT

    i'm sure other boards are taking note of this for when they next host an India tour.

  • Green_and_Gold on November 14, 2012, 17:24 GMT

    Its all rubbish. All these people and businesses are trying to get as much money out of the game as possible and at the end of the day its the fans who ultimately pay for it.

  • grizzle on November 14, 2012, 16:05 GMT

    Pathetic from the BCCI, and despite being an Indian, I hope they get what's coming to them!

  • A_Vacant_Slip on November 14, 2012, 16:04 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster (November 13 2012, 23:39 PM GMT) If it is Christmas and "Santa Claus" BCCI is bringing something to my chimney I will be blocking it up with bale of straw. BCCI "life blood of cricket". What astonishing conceit.

  • bobmartin on November 14, 2012, 15:48 GMT

    Press photographers cost the BCCI nothing...just a press pass to enter the ground that's all. Therefore the only reason for banning them is so that the BCCI can claim copyright of the images taken by its approved photographers and claim royalties on their reproduction..Disgraceful money grabbing at the lowest level. What with that. the TV fees fiasco... the URS farce... can the BCCI sink any lower in the eyes of genuine cricket lovers...

  • YorkshirePudding on November 14, 2012, 15:32 GMT

    Hopefully the ECB will return the compliment to the BCCI when india next tour the UK and during the ICC champions trophy next year by charging them £200K/venue for the privlage of them having a studio....

  • sandy_bangalore on November 14, 2012, 13:08 GMT

    Whatever you guys say, the real losers are the Indian public. Imagine we were looking forward to having nasser,atherton etc commentating, and now we have to put with the likes of SIvarama, gavaskar,collingwood!!!

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