Agencies skip Test in latest sports rights stoush

THE world’s ‘big three’ news agencies will boycott coverage of Australian cricket indefinitely, journalism.co.uk reported.

Reuters, Agence France Presse (AFP) and Associated Press (AP) have refused to comply with Cricket Australia’s (CA) accreditation terms and will not report the upcoming Test match between Australia and New Zealand.

The feud primarily surrounds restrictions the sport’s governing body wishes to impose on the distrubution of content online and to mobile devices.

Sports and events organisers such as CA have in recent years moved to protect their commercial media deals, arguing that highlights, scores and updates are too freely available from other sources, diminishing from the value of their exclusive coverage arrangements.

The News Media Coalition (NMC), which acts on behalf of news agencies and publishers, had been negotiating with CA over the terms. The report said the sticking points related to:

  • Rules on how newspaper websites can be updated
  • Veto power for Cricket Australia over which websites and non-sports magazines the agencies are allowed to syndicate content to
  • Restrictions affecting the distribution of content to mobile news services

“As in previous instances, this decision [the accreditation terms] compromises our ability to report independently and objectively, and comes at the expense of global fans and sponsors,” said Christoph Pleitgen, global head of News Agency for Thomson Reuters in a media release, according to journalism.co.uk.

This is the latest stand-off in a long-running tug-of-war between news agencies and sporting bodies. At the 2007 PANPA Conference, Andrew Moger of NMC and CA boss James Sutherland participated in a session exploring each side’s point of view.

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