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News agencies to boycott Brisbane Test

November 07, 2007 11:23 IST

Three leading international news agencies are set to boycott this week's first cricket Test match between Australia and Sri Lanka after organisers demanded payment for the right to distribute photographs from the event.

The row is the second major rights dispute to hit international sports organisers in two months following a high-profile clash in the build-up to the rugby World Cup.

The three agencies, Reuters, Associated Press and Agence France-Presse, said the decision by Cricket Australia to control the rights and demand a payment threatened their integrity and that they would boycott the match if the dispute is not resolved.

Cricket Australia has said it owns the right to exploit photographs taken at its games and has asked the agencies to pay to license photos for editorial use.

It has also given guidelines to how the photographs should be used, including restrictions on some web sites.

"Reuters regrets this course of action," Monique Villa, managing director of media, said in a statement. "However, press freedom and protecting the news interests and coverage rights of our global clients is of key importance."

Associated Press said it would not give in to the current demands and AFP said it would not pay to report news.

Getty Images said it would fulfil its commercial obligations with Cricket Australia but would not cover any CA events from an editorial perspective.

The first Test starts in Brisbane on November 8.

The row follows the dispute in September between media and the International Rugby Board (IRB) which threatened coverage of the rugby World Cup.

The IRB tried to impose restrictions on media, limiting photos and video on the Internet. This prompted the leading international news agencies and a 40-strong world news media coalition to boycott the build-up to the World Cup.

An agreement was reached hours before the opening match.

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