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IOC criticises BCCI for attacking press freedom

November 18, 2012 12:34 IST

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has come down heavily on Indian cricket authorities for preventing a section of the international news media from covering the ongoing Test series between India and England.

International news organisations suspended text and photo coverage of England's cricket tour of India because of new restrictions introduced by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

The IOC Press Commission chairman, Kevan Gosper called on the International Cricket Council to intervene and allow news organisations free access to the cricket matches.

"The IOC strongly disagrees with these moves by the BCCI, which we believe are a direct attack on the freedom of the media to report from sporting events, and shows contempt for the sporting public around the world who would otherwise like to follow these important matches," Gosper said in a statement.

Gosper"We would hope that the ICC intervene and that sports administrators refrain from interfering with and placing restrictions on the vitally important role of media to freely report from sporting events," he added.

The BCCI has barred photo-only agencies from covering games and made a small number of its own photographs available to media.

Other international news organisations have also suspended coverage. The British press has refused to publish photographs of the match between India and England that started in Ahmedabad on Thursday.

"Photographers are news gatherers, and must be granted appropriate access to do their job," said Gosper.

Editors of Britain's national newspapers have also joined the chorus to protests against the BCCI because the photo agencies are regular suppliers of specialised press sports photography.

A number of newspaper trade associations and editors around the world have taken up the issue. The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum have also criticised BCCI's policy.

"It is simply unacceptable for the Board of Cricket Control for India to take it upon themselves to refuse accreditation to legitimate news agencies, and to tear down the traditional role that independent news media plays in bringing sport news to the public," said Jacob Mathew,

The BCCI has locked out Getty Images, Action Images and two Indian photo agencies. The decision to refuse accreditation led to a decision by Thomson Reuters, Agence France-Presse and Associated Press to suspend reports about the tour as well as pictures.

Photograph: Sandra Mu/Getty Images

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