New Delhi: The News Media Coalition on Wednesday asked the Indian Premier League authorities not to alienate the international news media community and address the widespread press concerns about coverage of the Twenty20 league.
"The terms on offer from the IPL raise serious issues of press freedom, including the ability to inform the public with topical information and the legitimate distribution of news content_cn for editorial publications," the London-based NMC said in a statement.
"News organisations which have studied the rules on journalistic attendance feel that the current wording will serve to act as a barrier to coverage by some media.
"This can only result in the loss of opportunities for cricket fans internationally to share in this news spectacle through the opinions and eyes of independent journalists and photographers working for publishers worldwide through the network of agencies and newspaper syndication services," it said.
"We urge the IPL executive to avoid alienating the international news media community and to engage in meaningful discussions to identify a solution in this area of press freedom concern," the statement read.
As many as 34 leading Indians channels has already announced that they would not cover IPL III starting March 12 to protest against the "arbitrary" guidelines and certain content_cnious clauses regarding footage of the Twenty20 event.
The international news agencies had boycotted the first two editions of the cash-rich tournament because of certain content_cnious clauses in the media accreditation guidelines.
The NMC asked the league authorities to remove those aspects of the terms and conditions which seek to define news platforms that are acceptable to the IPL and sought bringing back the 2009 guidelines.
"This would mean reinstating 2009 wording which sought to deal with IPL concerns about what the IPL felt were rogue operators, many of whom the IPL acted against," it said.
Describing the current guidelines as "damaging to press freedom", the NMC said, "We believe the language presents an excessive limitation on the free flow of information such as journalistic photography through legitimate distribution chains and is therefore damaging to press freedom."
Optimistic that a solution could still be reached, the NMC said, "It may be that alternative wording which mirrors the sentiments of the 2009 agreement could be found and we look forward to hearing a positive response on this. There are other concerns, particularly as regards the imposition of updating quotas, which also need reconsideration."