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SBD Global/February 14, 2013/Media

Media Blackout Leaves Aussie News Agencies, Fans In Dark On Indian Cricket Tour

Australian publishers "are fuming" that they will have to restrict coverage of their national team's tour of India because of "unusually harsh demands from Indian cricket administrators," according to Jesse Hogan of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Less than a week after ABC Radio confirmed it would have no commentary or reporting presence at the India-Australia Test series "due to a dispute about the price and terms of broadcasting rights" demanded by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, Getty Images, a key photograph supplier to Australian newspapers and websites, "has been denied accreditation." The BCCI's rationale for banning Getty Images last year was it considered the photo agency's ''primary businesses involved the commercial sale and licensing of images rather than the supply of images to news publications for bona fide editorial purposes." Its stance "was ridiculed" by Fairfax Media Chief Editorial Dir Garry Linnell, as ''a complete rejection of the notion of a free press.'' Linnell: ''The arrogance of the Indian cricket board is breathtaking -- but the far-reaching implications are simply Orwellian. Last time I looked, cricket around the globe has been struggling for relevance and legitimacy. If they want to kill the game as a global product … then such short-sighted behaviour will go a long way in achieving such an outcome'' (SMH, 2/14).

JOINING THE BANDWAGON: In Sydney, Lara Sinclair reported News Ltd. and the AAP "will join a protest against publishing images and video" from Australia's cricket tour of India. The lockout was described as arrogant, "Orwellian" and contrary to the notion of a free press by Fairfax, which "appears also to support the ban." However, a spokesperson "would not confirm if Fairfax would join a publishers' protest." The spokesperson said, "We will be making our own decisions." A statement from The Newspaper Works suggested major Australian publishers "would enforce a similar ban" against what it termed "an attack on the news supply network." AAP Editor In Chief Tony Gillies confirmed that the news agency "would not send a photographer to India and would not distribute BCCI images" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 2/13).
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