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News agencies suspend Australian cricket coverage over online coverage terms

Reuters, Associated Press (AP) and Agence France Presse (AFP) will not cover matches, training sessions and events for cricket in Australia, because of ‘unacceptable accreditation terms’ set out by Cricket Australia, the sport’s governing body in the country.

According to a release from Reuters:

“No text stories, photos or video of any of the training sessions, matches, press conferences or events will be distributed by the international news agencies to media around the world for the first test against New Zealand later this month, and potentially for the South Africa test coming up in December.”

Reuters partner Getty Images will provide images and ‘fulfil their commercial obligations only’ e.g. not providing any editorial of the matches.

Rights organisation the News Media Coalition said the agencies had been in discussions with Cricket Australia for months before rejecting the terms, which featured several restrictions relating to online coverage including:

  • 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 the release.

“We would like to resume our timely, premium coverage as quickly as possible, pending a solution to the current situation. However, freedom of the press and protecting the news interests and coverage rights of our global clients are at the core of both our business and Reuters editorial principles, and these must be upheld.”

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