Reuters to resume coverage of India-Australia Test series

October 10th, 2008 - 8:44 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 10 (IANS) International new agency Reuters Friday announced it will resume coverage of the cricket Test series between India and Australia after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) dropped contentious accreditation terms.Reuters suspended its coverage of cricket matches, training sessions and commercial events in India across text, pictures and TV due to unacceptable accreditation terms for photographers and camera crews imposed by the BCCI and Cricket Australia (CA).

The news agency did not cover day one of the first Test in Bangalore, asking the BCCI to drop terms which media representatives must sign before receiving match accreditation. The curbs included a bar on distributing pictures to cricket websites.

It was only after the BCCI Friday said it was amending the terms and conditions, and removing the section on website picture distribution that Reuters agreed to start reporting the second day’s play.

“We are grateful to the BCCI for taking such a fair and reasonable approach in this matter and are delighted to be able to resume coverage of the current series in India,” Christoph Pleitgen, Global Head of News Agency for Thomson Reuters, said in a statement.

“We look forward to our continued coverage of cricket in India on terms which respect the freedom of the press and protect the news interests and coverage rights of the media.”

A similar dispute over coverage surfaced during the Indian Premier League (IPL) and before that in Australia’s home series in Sri Lanka in 2007 when Reuters and other international agencies blocked the coverage due to contentious accreditation clauses.

Though the issue was settled then, Reuters said CA terms and conditions remained a bone of contention for them.

Reuters said it would not be able to cover future games in Australia unless a number of accreditation terms from CA, including the resale of photographs and the number of report updates during a game, were dropped.

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 these and distribute their images and news as they see fit.

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