New Delhi: Two days before the launch of the Indian Premier League (IPL), India’s leading news channels have decided to completely boycott the tournament.
“From midnight, a complete boycott of IPL will come into effect. There will be no mention of the league, matches or players on our channels,” said a member of the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) who represents a leading news channel. He did not wish to be identified.
The decision came late on Tuesday evening after a deadline set by NBA, which represents 11 leading news broadcasters, expired.
“We have dealt with other problems, we will deal with this also,” said Lalit Modi, commissioner, Indian Premier League, in reaction to the news of the boycott.
NBA had, in a representation made to IPL on 14 April, demanded a relaxation in the usage of free footage of cricket matches, among other amendments in the accreditation guidelines.
It wrote to Modi and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sharad Pawar demanding seven minutes of free footage per match under fair use principles as against one minute footage proposed by IPL.
IPL forwarded the letter to Sony Entertainment Television, the broadcast partner of IPL.
Rohit Gupta, president, network sales, Multiscreen Media Pvt. Ltd, formerly known as Sony Entertainment Television India Pvt. Ltd, said under its contract with BCCI, they were required to give only one minute of free footage to news broadcasters.
“Following their request, we have increased it to three minutes. Additionally, channels can get seven minutes of footage for Rs10 lakh,” Gupta added. Clearly, that’s not an offer news broadcasters are happy with.
Meanwhile, issues raised by print media organizations have been resolved.
“IPL and we have worked together to reach a consensus. We should be able to make public our guidelines by tomorrow,” said Hormusji Cama, president, Indian Newspaper Society.