Reuters suspends coverage of Australia tour of India

NEW DELHI - International news agency Reuters on Thursday suspended coverage of Australia's test cricket series in India due to the accreditation terms of organisers, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

By (Reuters)

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Published: Thu 9 Oct 2008, 5:56 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 11:05 AM

The terms which journalists must sign before being given match accreditation include a bar on distributing photographs to cricket website portals which Reuters say is unacceptable.

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.

Reuters TRIL.L said it also would not be able to cover future games in Australia unless a number of accreditation terms from Cricket Australia (CA), including the resale of photographs and over the number of report updates during a game, are dropped.

"Regrettably, Reuters is unable to cover the upcoming cricket tournaments in India, and potentially Australia, following unacceptable accreditation terms for journalists imposed by the BCCI and Cricket Australia," Christoph Pleitgen, Global Head of News Agency for Thomson Reuters, said in a statement.

"This decision compromises our ability to report independently and objectively in these countries, and comes at the expense of global fans and sponsors.

'Editorial principles'

"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," Pleitgen said.

The suspension began with the first of the four India v Australia test matches which started in Bangalore on Thursday.

Leading news gathering organisations including Reuters represented by the News Media Coalition (NMC) are already refusing to agree to the terms with Cricket Australia that could lead to a wider suspension Down Under.

A CA spokesman told Reuters on Thursday that it hoped to find a resolution.

"There are a lot of complex issues in this, including the changing media world and media building new commercial businesses that we need to understand because we can't allow them to compromise the rights that we own but at the end of the day we have a mutual dependency.

"Sport needs the media and the media needs sport," he said.

"It's part of a global debate. The media and sport are all grappling with a lot of issues that arise out of the changing commercial models that media are operating and building, particularly the way media is converging.

"We are working our way through this (with other media outlets) and I think we are pretty close (to an agreement) but to date Reuters has not applied for accreditation for the summer."

There was no immediate reaction from the BCCI which said it would issue a statement on Friday.

Leading international news agencies suspended coverage of the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 tournament earlier this year over terms and conditions after talks with the organisers failed.

The rights dispute follows a similar clash over coverage rights in the build-up to last year's rugby World Cup and with the Australian cricket board during Sri Lanka's cricket tour.

In both cases, coverage went ahead after late agreements were reached.

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