The News Media Coalition, an international organization which counts several news companies as its members, has said that a policy of the Board of Cricket Control for India (sic) for the current India-England Cricket series, will not allow independent photographic news agencies like Getty Images, Action Images and Indian photographic agencies to report on the proceedings of the game. (Hat Tip: Prem Panicker)

NMC has deplored the decision of the BCCI, saying that as a result of this policy, Cricket fans will “see far fewer images taken by specialist press photographers in their newspapers, websites, on mobile news services and tablets.” The BCCI will make its own photographs available, the organization claims, “but this is no substitute for independent and objective press photography”. The test match begins tomorrow in Ahmedabad.

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), and others. The Associated Press has said that it may be forced to suspend text and photo coverage of England’s cricket tour of India, and Thomson Reuters has also said that it is “unable to confirm coverage” of the series.

We’ve written to the NMC for a copy of the BCCI’s media guidelines for the series, which we couldn’t locate on their website.

The implications of this move are significant for the Internet: websites typically unable to send journalists to cover these events source photos and/or text from news and photo agencies, resulting in wider dissemination of content related to the Cricket series. With these restrictions put into place, it appears that web coverage of the series will be impacted adversely, although it will probably be worse if there is a boycott.

Note that this isn’t the first instance of agencies threatening to boycott coverage of Cricket matches, and neither is the BCCI’s move to restrict media coverage a new one – it has a history of the Cricket body attempting to restrict media access to Cricket events, especially restricting access to web publications for the Indian Premier League, typically in order to protect the rights of the digital rights holders. It’s been a while since the BCCI flexed its muscles, though. Some historical context:

BCCI & Media Coalition Reach Agreement; Syndication For Editorial Use Allowed
International Media Might Boycott IPL
Game On! News Channels To Give IPL 3 A Miss
Indian Premier League Changes Terms For Digital & TV Coverage
The IPL Media Guidelines

Don’t Use Live Scores, Ball-By-Ball Alerts For Ind-NZ Cricket Series, STAR Tells App Devs
Twitter Received 115 Takedown Notices From Cricket Boards In The Last Year
Cricket Australia Restricts Web Usage Of Content From Aus-NZ Test Series