The Editors Guild of India (EGI) and the Sports Journalists' Federation of India (SJFI) on Friday outrightly rejected the "appalling" accreditation norms put forward by the Indian Premier League (IPL) authorities.
In a letter addressed to the BCCI President Sharad Pawar and IPL Chairman Lalit Modi, the Guild said, "With deep regret and dismay, we are forced to point out that there are prohibitive conditions in the terms and conditions attached with the (accreditation) form...These conditions are unprecedented and unacceptable to the Indian media, to say the least."
Both EGI and SJFI were irked by the conditions which state that the media cannot use image or photograph in any other publication even if it belongs to the same organisation.
"To say the least, this is a ridiculous claim, unheard of in the annals of free India's media tradition," EGI observed. The IPL accreditation norm also says newspapers and news agencies cannot use still images, taken by their accredited photographers, for online editions.
"In an age when most newspapers are also available to online readers, this stipulation is extremely untenable," EGI noted.
The norms also demand that the media organisations have to upload, at their own cost, images they have obtained on the official website of the Twenty20 tournament and IPL can use these photographs without making any payment to the newspapers or news agencies.
EGI also pointed out that news agencies like the Press Trust of India (PTI) have been the lifeline for newspapers across the country and neither BCCI nor IPL can restrain them from disseminating information.
Referring to the long-standing symbiotic relationship between cricket and the media, EGI noted, "...never before has the media been restrained from, or denied the right to cover an event of public interest within the country's boundaries. Not only this, but the conditions set by the IPL regarding coverage have appallingly sought to give an extremely limited definition to the term 'media'."
SJFI too voiced its concern at the "stringent restrictions" and asserted that media is a key stakeholder in the promotion of the game.
Pointing out how the media has helped the game spread roots, the sports journalists' body said, "With this in mind, the Sports Journalists' Federation of India asks that the unfair and unethical restrictions being placed on the media be withdrawn unconditionally."