Friday, April 11, 2008

Media stand has IPL franchises worried

The Hyderabad franchise is confident that the IPL officials will handle the media coalition smoothly...

The stand-off between the Indian Premier League (IPL) and leading news agencies over contentious accreditation clauses for the Twenty20 tournament starting on April 18 has been termed as a matter of concern by franchises, with some of them planning to discuss the issue with IPL officials if media coverage of the event is affected.

"If the issue escalates to a point where media or sections of the media will choose to ignore the IPL, we will have to step in, meet with IPL and seek clarifications. We need to find an amicable solution," Charu Sharma, the chief executive of the Bangalore Royal Challengers, told Cricinfo.

Fraser Castellino, the CEO of Jaipur's Rajasthan Royals, said they had invested heavily in the venture and would like the entire media on board to ensure that the event "reaches every heart". J Krishnan, of Hyderabad's Deccan Chargers, said he was sure the IPL officials would sort out the issue.

Sharma is a well-known television professional while the Jaipur franchise is backed by the UK-based Investors in Cricket, a media group with significant interests in television. The Hyderabad franchise is owned by Deccan Chronicle, the newspaper group.

The Press Trust of India (PTI), the country's leading news agency, on Friday joined leading international agencies in calling for modifications in IPL's coverage norms, failing which they have decided to ignore the event. The News Media Coalition (NMC), the umbrella body that covers global news and photograph agencies Reuters, Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Getty Images, had earlier expressed deep concerns about IPL's media norms, including curbs on selling photographs to websites and a press-box bar on websites.

The Editors Guild of India has expressed reservations on the IPL's media clauses and the Indian Newspaper Society (INS), a representative body of newspaper publishers, said it was disappointed about the accreditation terms, even after the IPL revised them following discussions with media representatives on Monday.

"As far as we are concerned, this issue involves the IPL's IPR, and has to be sorted out by the IPL. However, if the situation [on media accreditation] escalates we will have to have a say in the matter and will want to discuss the issue with IPL," said Sharma. "If push comes to shove, we will want to get involved as a franchise on this matter. Generally, we believe that nobody can go forward on an event of this magnitude without getting the media on board and addressing all their concerns."

Castellino offered help to resolve the issue because the franchises needed "the entire media" on their side. "Definitely, the possibility of the media ignoring the event is not a great development from the franchise point of view. We are concerned and may need to discuss with the IPL if the situation is not resolved," he said. "We have invested heavily in this venture, and we need the event to touch every heart. For that, we need the entire media on our side. We hope the two parties, like two sensible people, will sit across the table and resolve the issue. We really have no time but we, as a franchise, are willing to step in and help resolve this situation."

Krishnan said Hyderabad will leave the issue to the "capable" IPL officials. "We really don't want to comment on this matter, except to state that we are sure the IPL will find a solution to this issue."

The inaugural IPL tournament starts in Bangalore with the Royal Challengers, the home team, taking on the Kolkata Knight Riders. A Knight Riders spokesman declined to comment on the issue.

Indian Premier League