World Cup news blockade ends as ICC agrees to Govt plea for truce

 NEW DELHI: The International Cricket Council late this evening agreed to allow various Indian television channels to attend and report the India-Pakistan Cricket World Cup semi-final in Mohali tomorrow, following a request from Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni.

Soni, who had written to ICC President Sharad Pawar, had also pointed out that the Prime Ministers of both India and Pakistan would be present at the match.

Soni had proposed a 24-hour ‘truce‘ in a dispute created by Indian non-rights holders breaching the terms and conditions they had agreed to follow when they were awarded accreditation for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 in Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka.

In a statement, ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said: "Soni agreed to convene a meeting at the Ministry on 31 March to address the dispute which has been caused by repeated and serious breaches of the terms and conditions which these organizations had signed up to”.

He added however that "to ensure that there is no misunderstanding, it is important for me to outline the facts. Firstly, the News Access Guidelines for Broadcasting the ICC Cricket World Cup were issued in January 2011 and all news broadcasters were reminded of these Guidelines in a letter from the ICC on 27 January. No objections to the guidelines were received and accreditations were issued to the non-rights holders’ reporters and cameramen on condition that these guidelines were followed. Sadly there have been many breaches and despite requests for such activity to cease the NRH stations continued to break the rules.
  "It was only as a last resort that the ICC withdrew the accreditation of these companies when they refused to sign an undertaking that they would desist from breaching the guidelines. It was not something done without very good reason.

"It is also important to understand that the removal of the accreditation does not prevent these channels from reporting the ICC Cricket World Cup. It only prevents them from entering the stadium. Footage is provided to them from several agencies, including SNTV and Reuters, the ICC‘s official news providers.

"I am grateful for the minister‘s intervention in calling a meeting but I must repeat that we are committed to protecting the rights and investments of our broadcast partners as well as the exclusivity of our commercial partners. We will not allow that to be compromised and if the relevant members of the News Broadcasters‘ Association are not willing to give the necessary undertakings we require, we will have no other option but to withdraw accreditation for the final in Mumbai."

Earlier today, the NBA in a meeting decided to desist from accessing ongoing cricket World Cup venues including Mohali and covering press conferences and practice sessions in the wake of ICC barring them from these events. In a statement, the NBA said they have taken the stand in the view of the "unreasonable" stand taken by the ICC at a crucial juncture of the World Cup matches.

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