Lankan board worried over media blackout

Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2007, 3:35 [IST]
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Colombo: Sri Lankan cricket authorities have written to Cricket Australia to express concern over a dispute with international news agencies that has stopped coverage of Test matches.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) are anxious the dispute over news and photographic rights could prevent worldwide coverage of spinner Muttiah Muralitharan breaking the world record for the most Test wickets.

''It would be a great shame for the world's media not to be able to report such an important event for millions of cricket fans,'' SLC secretary Kangadaran Mathivanan told Reuters.

Muralitharan is six wickets short of equalling Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne's world record of 708 Test match scalps.

Muralitharan took two wickets during the first Test defeat by Australia in Brisbane, but the second Test, which starts in Hobart on Friday, is on a pitch expected to assist slow bowlers like the Sri Lankan.

''We have therefore emailed Cricket Australia to express our concern, although we also appreciate that they have their own policies in which we do not wish to interfere,'' Mathivanan added.

The world's leading news agencies - Reuters, Associated Press and Agence France-Presse - boycotted the first Test after organisers placed unprecedented restrictions on photographic rights.

Cricket Australia has argued that it owns the right to exploit photographs taken at its games and has asked the agencies to pay to license photos for editorial use.

The agencies say that the Test matches are news events and they will not pay for access to news.


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