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indian media slams the black out in australia

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he Indian media on Wednesday came down heavily on Cricket Australia's (CA) ongoing dispute with international news agencies, saying it could harm the sport's future.

The three major global agencies, Agence France-Presse, Reuters and Associated Press, have boycotted the ongoing Test series against Sri Lanka over CA's demand to rights of pictures of the matches.

The CA wants the media organisations to pay for the right to distribute photographs from the event but the agencies have refused, saying it threatens journalistic integrity.

"What Cricket Australia is doing is stupid," veteran cricket writer Ramaswamy Mohan, sports editor of the Chennai-based Deccan Chronicle, told AFP.

"Cricket and the media have co-existed for years and that helped to make the game popular world-wide. Now, one arm of that partnership wants to do away with the other arm.

"The affect is already being felt because of the low interest in the first Australia-Sri Lanka Test in Brisbane. I can't imagine we will not have pictures or text from the second Test either.

"If (Sri Lankan spinner) Muttiah Muralitharan equals Shane Warne's world record in Hobart, the world would want to see pictures of that historic wicket and read what he has to say.

"Surely, we are not going to make do with his passport-size picture," said Mohan, who has covered cricket world-wide for more than 25 years.

Muralitharan needs six wickets to equal Warne's world record tally of 708.

The influential Times of India newspaper slammed the Indian cricket board's backing of CA's stance, saying the obsession with money threatened the spirit of sport.

"Money-minded cricket administrators are putting a price on everything, including pictures of cricket matches, thereby threatening to take fun out of sports," the daily wrote.

"What's more alarming is that this move by CA has given ideas to the Indian board) too.

"If agencies succumb and start paying money to cricket boards, they in turn will ask more for the pictures. Look at it any way, there will be fewer pictures from the matches for the game's innumerable fans."

The Times of India added the trend could change how sports was covered.

"This demand could set a dangerous trend, spill over into other areas, and change sports coverage, or for that matter the coverage of other events."
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