The Indian Premier League organisers may have announced that all outstanding issues have been resolved, but is it actually so?
While newspapers may be delighted that restrictions imposed on them have been lifted, websites have been left in the cold, and it seems no issue at all for IPL chairman Lalit Modi and the BCCI.
The deadlock over the IPL's media coverage ended on Monday following a meeting between the organizers of the Twenty20 tournament and editors from leading newspapers in Mumbai. While the print media got relief on the use of images and the number of reporters and photographers who will be granted accreditation to cover matches in the tournament, websites like Rediff.com and Cricinfo were cold-shouldered.
Adding insult to injury, the IPL went a step further and decreed that websites, which will have no access to the press enclosure when the matches are on, can cover pre-match and post-match press conferences,
Further, the IPL said websites will not be allowed to upload photographs of the matches, and news agencies cannot sell pictures to websites.
While newspapers are quite delighted with the relief they have got, top global news agencies are considering a boycott of the event. The News Media Coalition, which includes top global news agencies like Agence France-Presse (AFP), Associated Press (AP), Reuters and Getty Images, is concerned about not being allowed to sell photographs to websites. They fear this could set up a bad precedent.
The IPL says websites are being barred as it has sold the right to a US-based Internet company.
I S Bindra, a member of the IPL's governing council, had said last week: "We have not allowed online usage only because we have sold the portal rights of the event to a respected company based in North America for US$50 million. We can't disclose the company's name at the moment as they are in the process of getting listed."
At this rate, it won't be long before the viewers will be asked to pay to watch cricket matches on television. Going to stadiums and watching matches live have always been a premium because of the BCCI's policy of issuing a very few cheap tickets to the general public.
Do you think it is a right move by the BCCI to forcibly stop internet websites from reporting on cricket matches? What are your thoughts on the IPL's latest move? Tell us.