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ICC to sue channels for guidelines breach

Mumbai(IANS): The International Cricket Council (ICC) Friday decided to begin legal proceedings against Indian news channels for breaching accreditation guidelines but will allow them to cover Saturday’s India-Sri Lanka World Cup final.

ICC had earlier accused the news channels, the non-rights holders (NRH), for repeatedly breaching the News Access Guidelines for the mega-event. ICC officials had a lengthy meeting with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in New Delhi, the National Broadcasters Association (NBA) and the Broadcast Editors Association (BEA) Friday but nothing concrete could come out of it. Subsequently, the ICC decided to commence legal action against the companies involved and will also seek to recover damages through Indian courts.

“I am very disappointed that it has come to this. However, we need to do everything to protect our exclusive commercial rights and those of our partners. If that means we have to resort to legal action, that is regrettable but necessary,” said ICC Haroon Lorgat in a statement.

“At the Ministry’s request, we travelled to New Delhi to meet with the NBA and BEA in an attempt to resolve the issue but they were unfortunately not willing to conform to the guidelines agreed with the ICC prior to the event.

“To ensure that there is no misunderstanding it is important for me to repeat that the News Access Guidelines were issued in January 2011 and all news broadcasters were reminded of these guidelines in a letter from the ICC on January 27.” ICC said that accreditations were issued to the NRH reporters and cameramen on condition that the guidelines were observed. “Subsequently those guidelines were breached on several occasions, particularly in respect of the blatant commercialisation of ICC World Cup footage and proprietary data by certain news broadcasters.

“In the interests of the event, we have agreed to reinstate their accreditation for the final match of this hugely successful World Cup. However, following a number of written warnings to the channels concerned, it is now time for the ICC to act through the courts,” Lorgat said.

The ICC withdrew the accreditation of the electronic media for the India-Pakistan semifinal’s pre-match press conferences. It was only after a 24 hour truce that they could cover the match Wednesday.

Earlier, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) authorities ordered all electronic media personnel to vacate the Wankhede Stadium premises Friday afternoon, barely 24 hours before the much-anticipated India-Sri Lanka World Cup final.

Agitated electronic media personnel cried foul over the move, purportedly under instructions from the ICC, and protested the manner in which they were virtually thrown out of the stadium.

Times Now TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami condemned the action and termed it “undemocratic.” “Nowhere in the world is the press – comprising the print and electronic medium – barred for attending or covering events like the press conference of the Indian cricket team, the chief of BCCI and other happenings,” an agitated Goswamy told IANS.

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