BCCI restrictions 'unacceptable' October 9, 2008

Reuters suspends coverage of Australia tour

Cricinfo staff

International news agency Reuters has suspended coverage of Australia's series in India as a result of what it has called "unacceptable" conditions imposed by the Indian board.

"The terms that journalists must sign before being given match accreditation include a bar on distributing photographs to cricket website portals which Reuters say is unacceptable," a statement on the company's website said. "Behind the dispute lies growing media concern that sporting bodies' increasing determination to maximise commercial benefit from their events is restricting press freedom to cover them and distribute their images and news as they see fit."

It continued that it would also refuse to cover matches in Australia unless Cricket Australia relaxed accreditation terms for games there, echoing a dispute that led to a partial blackout of the Brisbane Test in 2007-08. Other agencies are believed to be taking a similar stance with CA.

In India, Agence France Presse (AFP) said it was covering the series for the moment. "We are taking it day by day," Giles Hewitt, the agency's Delhi bureau chief, told Cricinfo. "As of now we are covering the first Test, and have been in touch with the BCCI."

"This [BCCI] decision compromises our ability to report independently and objectively in these countries, and comes at the expense of global fans and sponsors," Christoph Pleitgen, global head of news agency for Thomson Reuters, said. "We would like to resume our timely, premium coverage as quickly as possible, pending a solution to the current situation.

"Freedom of the press and protecting the news interests and coverage rights of our global clients are at the core of both our business and Reuters editorial principles, and these must be upheld."

"Sport needs the media and the media needs sport," a spokesman for CA said. "It's part of a global debate. We are working our way through this and I think we are pretty close [to an agreement] but to date Reuters has not applied for accreditation for the summer."

The BCCI, Reuters said, will issue a statement on Friday.

Comments