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Johannesburg - Cricket fans around the world could be denied access to images of the India cricket series against England.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has refused accreditation to independent photographic agencies.
Getty Images, Action Images and Indian photographic agencies have been barred by the BCCI from the England series, which starts with the first Test in Ahmedabad on Thursday.
“Despite numerous opportunities, the BCCI has yet to explain why it is discriminating against photographic agencies or indeed whether other news sectors will be targeted next,” said Andrew Moger, executive director of the News Media Coalition (NMC).
“We deplore this move as an insult to organisations which have supported cricket worldwide.”
The NMC, an international organisation based in London which defends the ability of the press to inform the public with independent news material, urged the BCCI to withdraw its policy.
“In our view, the BCCI’s move will hit fans and cricket sponsors alike,” Moger said.
“The BCCI has offered to make its own photographs available, but this is no substitute for independent and objective press photography.”
The Associated Press warned that it may be forced to suspend text and photographic coverage of England's cricket tour of India because of the new restrictions.
“We are surprised at these terms for photo agencies and remain hopeful that they will be lifted,” said Lou Ferrara, AP's managing editor for Sports.
“AP wants to provide cricket coverage to the world and it is only in the best interest of the organisers to allow that to happen for all news outlets, especially in this rapidly changing media landscape.”
Agence France-Presse stated that it “strongly believes the right of the media to cover news events without undue restrictions should be protected,” and that it hoped the BCCI would lift its policy.
Thomson Reuters advised its clients it was unable to confirm coverage of the England Cricket team’s matches in India. - Sapa