NEW YORK, NY - Journalists from the Associated Press in all media - text, photography, and video - will not cover the first Test match between Sri Lank and Australia in Brisbane until a dispute between news organizations and Cricket Australia (CA) over the terms CA is demanding for media credentials and ownership rights is resolved, AP director of media relations Paul Colford said from New York.
"Despite an attempt to work out our differences this week, the terms being imposed by Cricket Australia remain unacceptable in their present form to the AP, which is seeking rules that respect our editorial integrity and our right to distribute AP stories and images without arbitrary and self-serving restrictions imposed by others," Colford announced.
The Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France-Presse have joined scores of other media organizations and publishers in addressing the issue with CA.
AFP chairman Pierre Louette said today that the world's top three global news agencies will boycott the first cricket Test today because of the "unprecedented restrictions" placed on credentials and coverage.
Reuters sent an advisory to clients saying the boycott continues until Cricket Australia changes its terms. "Freedom of the press and our editorial integrity are at the core of our business and these must be respected," Reuters said.
AP's latest advisory Thursday to their photo clients confirmed the same, that the dispute continues and there will be no photo coverage.
“Cricket Australia is basically demanding that we pay them for the right to cover and distribute news about cricket,” AP attorney Dave Tomlin said today. “That’s what their demand to be paid a license fee for our syndication of AP photos at CA matches comes down to. We don’t pay news sources for the right to hear and tell their stories, and we don’t pay organizers of newsworthy events for the right to cover them. When we start doing that, both we and our sources can kiss our credibility goodbye. We still hope to make CA understand how fundamental this is for us, and should be for them.”
"Reuters is suspending its coverage of the Australian Cricket team's activities in Australia with immediate effect," the managing director for media for Reuters, Monique Villa, said from London. "Starting with the first test against Sri Lanka in Brisbane which opens on November 8, Reuters will not be covering matches, press conferences nor other activities involving the Australian team across text, pictures and TV. Reuters regrets this course of action. However, press freedom and protecting the interests and coverage rights of our global client base is of key importance to Reuters. Faced with unacceptable accreditation terms imposed by Cricket Australia, including the payment of a license fee to distribute news from matches and events, Reuters is unable to continue reporting as planned."
"If we have not found a solution on Thursday, which is the day of the first game between Australia and Sri Lanka it's a disiater for Sri Lanka because they will not have access to our pictures," Villa said.
Reuters, AP, and AFP said the decision by CA to control the rights and demand payment for credentials threatens the wire services' integrity. News agencies do not pay sports organizations for the right to cover sporting events or news. CA says they own the rights to images taken at their matches and have demanded payment from the wire services and agencies to license the photographs for editorial use. More than 30 media organizations have come together to fight CA's attempt to control a free press.
Getty Images has confirmed that they are the official photographic agency for Cricket Austrailia, but Getty Images has also joined with the wire services in the editorial boycott. "We will continue to fulfill our commercial photographic obligations," Getty's Alison Crombie told News Photographer magazine from London. "However, until this dispute is resolved, Getty Images will not cover any Cricket Australia events from an editorial perspective." Crombie is the senior director for public relations for Getty Images for the European, Middle East, Asian, and Asian Pacific regions.