Tuesday, September 04, 2007

RWC media kerfuffle

(Updated below.)

The Sunday Times reports the threat of a media walkout from the World Cup:

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The row with the IRB over arrangements for coverage of the Rugby World Cup escalated yesterday as French news agency AFP threatened to pull out of reporting on the tournament. The dispute, involving news media organisations across the world that are determined to safeguard press freedoms and to protect their material, concerns the rules imposed by the IRB on journalist activities and use of content.

The lead has been taken by Agence France-Presse and other major international agencies are reviewing their positions in a row that covers all branches of written and graphic reporting including websites. AFP is one of more than 40 media bodies – including Reuters and Associated Press as well as publishers and journalists — who have formed a coalition to resist commercial encroachment by sports federations into the media’s right to free expression.

The IRB has attempted to tell editors how pictures can be displayed in newspapers, have sought an entitlement to use news organisation pictures and to impose quotas on how many pictures can be used on newspaper websites during tournament games. Matters came to a head this week when, despite some progress in negotiations, the IRB decided to impose new rules.

The IRB had conceded ground on issues restricting the use of photographs in newspapers but one of the key outstanding issues centres on the use of match photographs on websites.

At an August 21 meeting in the Irish capital the coalition of the world’s leading agencies and newspapers requested the right to send their clients a maximum of one photo per second during each match on the understanding that this could not threaten the commercially-sensitive area of broadcast rights.

In a letter addressed to all members of the media coalition on Wednesday, to formalise the agreement reached in Dublin, the IRB announced that only a maximum of 50 (20 for each half and five for each extra time period) photos would be allowed to be sent to rugby World Cup clients.

Also contrary to the agreements of August 21, the IRB has maintained that each photographer’s accreditation for the event will be distributed only on the condition that he/she waives all photo credit rights to the benefit of the IRB.

Read the whole story.

(Wonder if the IRB will be going after live-match bloggers...?)

UPDATE: The IRB strikes back!



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