Britain’s national press has joined a photographic boycott of England’s latest test series in protest over a ban imposed on two major photo agencies by Indian cricket’s governing body.
The Board of Cricket Control for India (BCCI) has barred Getty Images, Action Images and two Indian-based photo agencies from covering the tests – and is instead offering its own ‘official’ photo service to newspapers.
But the move appears to have backfired after the papers not only refused the pictures but observed a self-imposed ban on publishing pictures taken on the England tour “either in print or online”.
As the series got underway yesterday it appeared they had stuck to their word, with no pictures being run in national newspapers or online this morning from the first test in Ahmedabad.
UK papers have been joined in the boycott by agencies Thomson Reuters, Agence France-Presse and Associated Press, who will not be providing reports or pictures from the games. The UK’s Press Association has suspended its photographic service from India.
The Telegraph told its readers that photographic coverage of the first test “will be disrupted by media protests – supported by the Telegraph – at new restrictions imposed by the BCCI regarding the use of images and threat they pose to press freedom”.
It is being organised by News Media Coalition (NMC), whose members include most of the world’s leading agencies as well as British titles via the Newspaper Publishers Association.
The NMC was set up to tackle the “specific threat to legitimate editorial, press and publishing freedoms from the controls placed on news-gathering and news-distribution practices by the organisers of major events of public interest”.
Executive director Andrew Moger said: “In our view, the BCCI’s move will hit fans and cricket sponsors alike.
“The BCCI has offered to make its own photographs available but this is no substitute for independent and objective press photography.”
Moger added: “Despite numerous opportunities, the BCCI has yet to explain why it is discriminating against photographic agencies or indeed whether other news sectors will be targeted next. We deplore this move and insult to organisations which have supported cricket worldwide.”
Nike, one of the main sponsors of the test series, said: "This is a policy that has been put in place by and is driven by the BCCI. We're not in a position to comment further."