News Agencies Boycott First Test


AHMADEBAD – Major news agencies have boycotted the first Test of the series between England and India in protest at media restrictions imposed by the BCCI.

UK newspapers including the Times and the Telegraph will not use live pictures of the Test after the BCCI barred several agencies, including Getty Images, from the ground. ESPNcricinfo will also not carry live images.

Others agencies, such as Agence France-Presse (AFP), Reuters and the Associated Press, have taken the decision to boycott the match in protest. The Press Association (PA) will continue to provide its text service but has withdrawn its photographer. While the BCCI has accredited some news agencies, they refused to allow Getty Images, Action Images and some India agencies into the stadium on the grounds that their pictures were not used only for editorial purposes.

The BCCI are providing images that are downloadable from their website, but most media organisations are declining to use them, fearing the action sets a precedent along the road towards censorship.

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 are instead commentating from a live television feed in London. Sky’s small reporting team has also been asked to film only outside the ground despite having bought rights to the series.

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

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