International news agencies today decided to boycott the high-profile Test series between India and England which began here to protest against the restrictions imposed by the BCCI on some photo agencies covering the tour.
International agencies Thomson Reuters, Agence France-Presse and Associated Press decided to suspend reports from the tour as well as pictures. The Press Association, national agency in the United Kingdom, will not also supply photographs, according to a release issued by the News Media Coalition (NMC).
"In addition to Getty Images, Action Images and two Indian photo agencies being barred, international news agencies have decided against providing pictorial or text coverage of the tour," the NMC, a coalition of international and domestic media organisations, said.
"The lock-out of photographic agencies by the Board of Cricket Control for India (BCCI) will result in cricket fans worldwide having sight of far fewer images taken by press photographers," the NMC said.
"Normally, agencies would distribute thousands of images as part of their editorial coverage to the enjoyment of fans, the curious and sponsors of teams, such as Nike and Sahara," it added.
The BCCI had withheld accreditation of photo agencies such as Getty Images and Action Images, saying that it will provide its own photographs.
Meanwhile, editors of Britain's national newspapers today added their voice to the protests against BCCI's refusal to resolve the media dispute.
London-based 'The Telegraph' stated, "Photographic coverage of the first Test will be disrupted by media protests - supported by the Telegraph - at new restrictions imposed by the BCCI regarding the use of images and the threat they pose to media freedom."
Bob Satchwell, Executive Director of the Society of Editors, said, "Editors will be angered by this decision of the BCCI and confused by the motives. They just want to do the best job they can for their cricket-loving readers by choosing from the best news material. By damaging the ability of the press to cover cricket, the good name of the game also risks damage."
Earlier, the NMC had "deplored" the decision of the BCCI "to block attendance by reputable photographic agencies" and asked the Board to rethink.
"In our view, the BCCI's move will hit fans and cricket sponsors alike. The BCCI has offered to make its own photographs available but this is no substitute for independent and objective press photography," Executive Director of the NMC, Andrew Moger said.
"Despite numerous opportunities, the BCCI has yet to explain why it is discriminating against photographic agencies or indeed whether other news sectors will be targetted next.
We deplore this move and insult to organisations which have supported cricket worldwide," Moger added.
NMC members include Thomson Reuters, Agence France-Presse, Associated Press, the international photo agency Getty Images, the Press Association, the numerous British titles via the Newspaper Publishers Association, the European Newspaper Publishers' Association (ENPA), the European Publishers Council (EPC), the World Association of Newspapers (WAN-IFRA), among others.