Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Friday April 18 2008

Here‘s an interesting story:

Global news and photograph agencies will carry out their threat to boycott coverage of the Indian Premier League because of the restrictions on the distribution of photographs. Agencies are prohibited from providing photographs of the Twenty20 tournament to cricket-specific websites.

The News Media Coalition (NMC), the umbrella body that comprises global news and photograph agencies Reuters, Associated Press, Agence France-Presse (AFP) and Getty Images, called the restrictions “discriminatory”.

“It is discriminatory for the accreditation terms to prohibit international news agencies from being able to serve a specific group of users, such as cricket websites,” the NMC said in a statement. “The interests of the IPL are protected by the fact that its accreditation terms limit news content generated by the news agencies to be used for editorial purposes only. The NMC calls upon the IPL to remove remaining obstacles in the way of full editorial coverage of the tournament.”

The Editors Guild of India also called for the withdrawal of “unacceptable conditions” while the Press Trust of India, India’s leading news agency, had said it would cover the event “under protest”.

What this shows is the overwhelming importance to cricket of the biggest fact in cricket now, which is the number of Indians who are fans of it.  Foreign fans of cricket in India just don’t matter, or not enough register seriously in anyone’s calculations.  The combined might of all those foreign press agencies counts as nothing besides those Indian fans.  Meanwhile the Editors Guild of India has “called for” this, that and the other, and the Press Trust of India, which would look idiotic, to all those Indian fans, if it ignored this new Indian cricket league, only agrees to cover it “under protest”, in other words: it agrees.  The bottom line is, if only Indians pay any attention to this new league, that will be more than sufficient.  This won’t stop it being mega-profitable, and in search of their shares of all those mega-profits, all the world’s best cricketers will still want to play in it.  Even if at the moment the only white people involved seem for the time being to be made of plastic:

image

Calling Michael J, my expert commenter on cricket, football, science, technology, travel, history, geography, television, etc. etc. etc..  Have I got that right?  Or will this news agency boycott actually count for something?  And will there eventually be pictures I can copy and paste to here of Pietersen, Flintoff, Mascarenas, Luke Wright, and other expert Anglo-sloggers giving their all to Bangalore Royal Challengers (or Birmingham City?), when they should (according to MCC old farts and the like) be playing boring old test and county cricket in front of very few people indeed in England?

Time for the Billion Monkeys of India to snap a million IPL snaps, methinks.  18X zoom lenses have arrived just at the right moment.  (But, will Billion Monkey cameras be banned from the grounds?  And if so, will that make a blind bit of difference?)

image

More informative IPL reportage here.