News channels to boycott IPL3 following impasse

NEW DELHI: A fresh row is brewing between the news channels and the Indian Premier League (IPL) organisers. Most television news channels in the country have decided not to cover the third series of the IPL in protest against the "arbitrary" guidelines and certain contentious clauses regarding footage of the Twenty20 event.

The News Broadcasters Association (NBA), which has 34 channels as its members, said the IPL authorities and the official broadcaster of the event "arbitrarily" refused to abide by the 2008 norms that had been endorsed by the news channels. This followed a meeting with the IPL officials and representatives from Max, the channel that will telecast live the IPL matches. 

Under the new guidelines, the IPL has said television channels can use up to 30 seconds of fresh footage and seven minutes a day, while websites are not allowed to broadcast any of the match footages, archived or deferred. It has also been stated in the media guidelines for IPL3 that the footages cannot be repeated more than three times a day. The renewed guidelines also demand a minimum delay of 30 minutes from the live coverage.

"In view of this position unilaterally taken by IPL/Max, members of the NBA are unable to offer to their viewers any coverage in relation to IPL or its proposed matches," the NBA said in its statement, adding: "inconvenience caused to our viewers by this unreasonable commercial approach of IPL/Max is regretted."

NBA sources told that "the doors, though, have not been closed" provided the official broadcaster and IPL reconsider their decision.

Earlier, the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) had urged the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to ensure that broadcasters get a fair deal from the IPL with regard to telecast of footage.

The IBF said in a statement that immediate intervention by the Ministry can help resolve the impasse between the broadcasters and the IPL authorities.

The Ministry had mediated in a similar manner in 2008 through the then Additional Secretary resulting in a compromise.

The Foundation said failure of a negotiated settlement will have serious consequences. If the access to cricket is so restricted that a large part of viewers are deprived of cricketing news, it will not be beneficial to any of the parties involved and ire of general public may have to be also faced by them.

The earlier two IPL seasons had been hit by similar problems. The first was boycotted by the international news agencies over certain contentious clauses in the media accreditation guidelines, including a bar on supplying photographs to websites, and the dispute in the second IPL was resolved only after the IPL removed the clause.

The 2010 tournament has already run into controversies with the non-inclusion of any Pakistani player followed by the statement by Shah Rukh Khan, and later the Shiv Sena threatening not to allow the Australian players in Mumbai as long as attacks continue on the Indians living in Australia.


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