New Delhi: Agence France-Presse (AFP) and other top news agencies have said they will not cover cricket's inaugural Indian Premier League, which starts Friday, due to curbs on the distribution of photographs.
IPL officials have prohibited news agencies from supplying photographs to cricket-specific websites for the eight-team, Twenty20 tournament.
The London-based News Media Coalition (NMC), which defends media rights for global news and photograph agencies such as AFP, Associated Press, Getty Images and Reuters, called the restrictions "discriminatory."
"It is discriminatory for the accreditation terms to prohibit international news agencies from being able to serve a specific group of users, such as cricket websites," the NMC said in a statement.
"The interests of the Indian Premier League are protected by the fact that its accreditation terms limit news content generated by the news agencies to be used for editorial purposes only.
"The News Media Coalition calls upon the Indian Premier League to remove remaining obstacles in the way of full editorial coverage of the tournament," the release said.
The Editors Guild of India also called for the "unacceptable conditions" to be withdrawn.
In an advisory note to clients, AFP said it "will not, until further notice, offer any text, photo or graphics coverage of the inaugural Indian Premier League cricket, beginning Friday, due to restrictions imposed on international news agencies on the distribution of photographs."
The Press Trust of India decided to cover the event "under protest" after the IPL lifted a host of stringent conditions for accreditation but refused to ban on cricket websites.
The tournament marks the first time that international cricketers will put aside national allegiances to play for privately-owned and city-based teams, who selected their players via a multi-million-dollar auction last month.
International cricketers have been offered huge pay packets to take part in the 44-day, 59-match extravaganza across cricket-mad India.