ICL: Indian Cricket League

Agencies lift Australian cricket boycott


Global news agencies ended a boycott of Australian cricket on Friday after striking an agreement with the sport’s governing body that allows their photographers and reporters to cover matches.

The agencies began immediate coverage of the second Test against Sri Lanka, which started at Bellerive Oval here on Friday, in which Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan has the chance to overtake Shane Warne’s Test wicket world record.

The agencies, including Agence France-Presse, Reuters, Associated Press and Getty Images, had suspended all coverage of the 2007-08 season due to a dispute over restrictions imposed on media coverage.

The standoff, which blacked out agency coverage of last week’s Test against Sri Lanka in Brisbane, would be lifted immediately, the agencies said in a statement issued by a coalition of media groups opposed to the restrictions.

“The News Media Coalition (NMC) has reached an agreement in its talks with Cricket Australia (CA) regarding news coverage during the current season,” they said.

AFP chairman Pierre Louette hailed the breakthrough. “We are very pleased that we have been able to find a common position that will benefit millions of cricket fans around the world,” he said.

“The core issues that prevented us from covering the first Test have now been resolved, but media and sports bodies now really need to deepen their dialogue to ensure that freedom of the press is properly protected in this age of rapidly evolving technology,” he added.

The NMC said that the successful outcome followed lengthy discussions aimed at ensuring there were no fees for journalists to attend the cricket and no arbitrary limitation on news distribution.

It said the talks also centred on ensuring editors could update their websites frequently with pictures, text and data; editorial decisions remained in the hands of editors; and access arrangements were applied consistently across all news media organisations.

The agencies had refused to cover cricket in Australia because they said intellectual property issues and the prospect of a licensing fee to cover matches raised concerns about editorial integrity and freedom of the press.

Details of the provisional agreement with Cricket Australia (CA) were not publicly released but the agencies said their concerns had been met.

CA spokesman Peter Young said the two parties had reached a pragmatic short-term solution following “a week of very robust discussions”. He declined to give details of the agreement.

“We are keen to have as many media inside the ground as possible, and the important thing is that there is significant international coverage of the match,” Young said.

Source:Cricket News

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