The Multi-Million dollar Indian Premier League (IPL) has placed some unprecedented restrictions on the media coverage of its inaugural edition, which could force leading news agencies to keep away from the tournament starting on April 18.
At the centre of the controversy are the accreditation terms and conditions for photographers. The IPL states categorically that no “Accredited Party” would be allowed to make available match images for on-line publication and mobile phone users.
The relevant clause states that the IPL reserves the right to use all images captured during the matches by any party; and all parties must make available the images to IPL within 24 hours of the match by uploading them on the IPL website at their own cost, else their accreditation would be immediately withdrawn.
As such, the terms and conditions effectively prohibit agencies from covering the matches since websites form more than a major portion of their client base.
It would also severely restrict newspapers since most of them have their own on-line editions.
Agence France Presse (AFP), which was among the coalition of agencies that participated in the boycott, confirmed that it would not be covering the IPL matches.
“Yes. If anything, the conditions are even more restrictive,” Barry Parker, AFP Chief of Bureau, New Delhi, told the Hindustan Times.
“We had a plan to cover but under the current terms and conditions, I don’t see any agency covering the matches,” he added.
It is learnt that Reuters and Associated Press were discussing the issue with their respective legal advisors but could follow in AFP’s footsteps. The accreditation forms were published late on Wednesday night and media had only five days’ time to complete the process, the deadline being April 8.