The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is standing firm on its decision to not provide media accreditation to photo agencies for coverage of the ongoing India versus England series, claiming it has provided accreditation to “bona fide” domestic and international news publications and news agencies, including AFP, AP and Reuters. The BCCI claims that they were given “the opportunity by the BCCI to supply an unlimited number of match images for editorial use by their respective publications and agency clients worldwide.”
So what happened with some of those photo agencies that didn’t get accreditation? According to a BCCI statement, “Certain other international and domestic applicants did not meet the BCCI’s accreditation standards on the basis that, in the BCCI’s good faith opinion after due evaluation, their primary businesses involved the commercial sale and licensing of images rather than the supply of images to news publications for bona fide editorial purposes. These applications were duly rejected and the BCCI’s decision was communicated to the applicants.”
This is important particularly for the web, because many Cricket based web publications relay on photo agencies for images from matches, because they can’t afford to send photographers just for their usage. As such, the photo agencies become aggregators of images, and they license these images to web publications for editorial usage.
The BCCI isn’t backing down. The press note says: “The BCCI stands by its decision, which is based on the legitimate interest of prioritising and limiting stadium access to those persons and entities primarily involved in news reporting activities and, thereby, promoting the public interest in consuming news and editorial comment from diverse sources.”
What Websites Are Doing
Many news agencies and publications, globally, have chosen not to publish photographs of the ongoing Cricket series. Some are using archival images, while The Telegraph found a particularly innovative way of protesting, using stick cartoons:
Meanwhile, the photo galleries of Cricbuzz and Cricinfo don’t have any photos for the first test matches, neither do they have any for the current test match. IndiaDigitalReview had checked some of these sites during the first test match. We just checked CricketNext, and they have a photo section with images from the first test match, credited to BCCI Images. Appears that they’re syndicating images directly from the BCCI.
With photo agencies out, and most news agencies boycotting, it appears that sites didn’t have a choice but to source images from the BCCI. Is that what the BCCI wanted?
On their part, the BCCI claims that “it has not placed any restrictions on the number, nature or type of images that can be captured or published by accredited photo journalists from bona fide publications and news agencies. Any failure by accredited photographers to capture images at the venue or by accredited publications to provide photographic or other coverage is purely their own decision. Under the circumstances, the BCCI decided to supply and license a limited number of images from each day’s play to all accredited media for their editorial use. This was neither the intended nor desired approach of the BCCI for the series but is a facility made available to all bona fide media outlets given the decision by accredited news agencies to not undertake coverage.
The BCCI does not, and has no intention to, censor or limit bona fide news reporting. Any attempt by third parties to portray the BCCI’s legitimate decision, as further described above, as media censorship grossly misrepresents the facts. The BCCI continues to provide accredited access to all bona fide news publications and news agencies who wish to cover the series.”
This isn’t over, it seems.
IOC, News Media Coalition Call On ICC To Put Pressure On BCCI
Kevan Gosper, chairman of the International Olympic Committee’s press commission has criticized the BCCI’s decision to not accredit photo agencies, calling this move “a direct attach on the freedom of the media”. The News Media Coalition and joined them in asking the International Cricket Council (ICC) to “use its influence and global standing” to persuade the Indian cricket board to lift the curbs on coverage of the England tour. More here.
Do read our previous report: BCCI Restrictions On Photo Agencies For India-England Series Could Impact Online Content