Australian publishers consider partial boycott of Indian cricket

Many of Australia’s leading publishers will avoid carrying images and video of the Australian tour of the sub-continent after a decision by the Board of Control for Cricket in India to lock out major suppliers of photographic content.

The move comes after a decision by the Indian cricket authority to deny accreditation to Getty Images, an organisation that provide images to major publishers including News Limited, Fairfax Media, APN News & Media and Seven West Media.

CEO of industry body The Newspaper Works Tony Hale said the BCCI decision to deny Getty accreditation was disappointing.

“The BCCI’s decision is not in the interests of cricket fans, the public or ultimately the great game of cricket,” said Hale.

“This policy means cricket played between India and Australia on the current tour receives no independent and expert photographic coverage which is so critical to capturing the drama, skill and sheer entertainment of cricket for fans across the world.”

The BCCI adopted a similar policy during the recent England team’s tour of India. As a protest against the accreditation restrictions, UK newspapers and their websites carried no live photos or video grabs.

The Newspapers Works said Australian publishers were likely to adopt a similar stance.

“The industry recognises the BCCI media policy is an attack on the news supply network and there is potential other governing bodies would follow suit unless publishers demonstrate their discontent,” said Hale.

“Reputable photographic agencies like Getty Images should not be discriminated against and the International Cricket Council should intervene.”

Newswire service, Australian Associated Press has indicated it would support a probable boycott by Australian publishers.

The move would likely see AAP choose not to send a photographer to India, refused to act as a distributor of images provided by the BCCI and ensured the distribution of copy generated by the AAP reporter covering the Australian tour is restricted to Australia and New Zealand.

AAP editor-in-chief Tony Gillies told Mumbrella this afternoon: “The issue is the lock-out of photo agencies and photo only agencies,  that from our view just isn’t cricket.”

“We will be joining all media to voice our disapproval and disappointment with that… We are going to cover text but in a limited sort of way.”

AAP says it would like the BCCI to allow the media to cover the game freely and independently.

“Of course we recognise that there are restrictions that sometimes come with media coverage to protect the sponsorship interest or the commercial interests of the sporting body,” he said.

“But this is just another step too far.”

The move comes only days after the ABC announced it will not broadcast, or report live from, the coming Australian Test cricket series in India after deciding against paying broadcast rights to the BCCI.

The First Test between Australia and India starts on Friday week, February 22, after two warm-up games.

Nic Christensen


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