The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) today rejected suggestions that it was curbing media freedom by placing restrictions on the photo coverage of the ongoing India-England Test series.
International new agencies -- AP, AFP and Reuters – are boycotting the series, claiming the BCCI was trying to curb press freedom by refusing accreditation to photo agencies such as Getty Images.
But the BCCI rejected the contention.
"As with other sports bodies internationally, the BCCI processes the numerous media accreditation applications it receives after undertaking an evaluation of applicants and their respective organisations," the Board said in a statement.
"Through the BCCI media accreditation process, reporters and photographers nominated by bona fide domestic and international news publications and news agencies, were duly accredited.
"These accredited persons were presented the opportunity by the BCCI to supply an unlimited number of match images for editorial use by their respective publications and agency clients worldwide," it explained.
"Certain other international and domestic applicants did not meet the BCCI's accreditation standards on the basis that, in the BCCI's good faith opinion after due evaluation, their primary businesses involved the commercial sale and licensing of images rather than the supply of images to news publications for bona fide editorial purposes."
The BCCI said it continues to stand by its decision of rejecting a few accreditation applications.
"These applications were duly rejected and the BCCI's decision was communicated to the applicants. The BCCI stands by its decision, which is based on the legitimate interest of prioritising and limiting stadium access to those persons and entities primarily involved in news reporting activities and, thereby, promoting the public interest in consuming news and editorial comment from diverse sources."
The Board said it is wrong to say that it was placing restrictions on media coverage of the series.
"The BCCI wishes to clarify that it has not placed any restrictions on the number, nature or type of images that can be captured or published by accredited photo journalists from bona fide publications and news agencies.
"Any failure by accredited photographers to capture images at the venue or by accredited publications to provide photographic or other coverage is purely their own decision.
Under the circumstances, the BCCI decided to supply and license a limited number of images from each day's play to all accredited media for their editorial use," the Board said.
"This was neither the intended nor desired approach of the BCCI for the series but is a facility made available to all bona fide media outlets given the decision by accredited news agencies to not undertake coverage.
"The BCCI does not, and has no intention to, censor or limit bona fide news reporting. Any attempt by third parties to portray the BCCI's legitimate decision, as further described above, as media censorship grossly misrepresents the facts. The BCCI continues to provide accredited access to all bona fide news publications and news agencies who wish to cover the series," it added.