ICC lifts ban on media from covering WC final

Mumbai: The ICC on Friday night lifted the ban on news television channels covering the world cup finals following intervention by Information and Broadcasting Ministry, but will seek legal action against them for alleged violation of media guidelines.

"…the ICC has decided to commence legal action against the companies involved and will also seek to recover damages through the courts in India rather than bar the stations from the ICC Cricket World Cup final," cricket`s global governing body said in a statement.

Earlier this morning, representatives of the channels, who had gone to attend the pre-match press conferences of the rival captains and ICC President Sharad Pawar in Mumbai were barred from covering the events.

A similar ban was imposed on the channels before the Indo-Pak semi-finals at Mohali and was lifted on the day of the match.

The I and B Ministry took up the issue with the ICC on behalf of the broadcasters specially a day after the cricket body was given tax exemption by the Union Government on its incomes in the World Cup.

The ICC statement in the evening said it has decided to begin legal proceedings against "offending" Indian news channels who have "repeatedly breached" the News Access Guidelines for Broadcasters for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.

Despite a lengthy meeting at the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in New Delhi, the National Broadcasters Association (NBA) and the Broadcast Editors Association (BEA) refused to give assurances that they would desist from breaching the broadcast guidelines in their news programming, it said.

Haroon Lorgat, the ICC Chief Executive, said: "I am very disappointed that it has come to this. However, we need to do everything to protect our exclusive commercial rights and those of our partners. If that means we have to resort to legal action, that is regrettable but necessary".

"At the Ministry`s request, we travelled to New Delhi to meet with the NBA and BEA in an attempt to resolve the issue but they were unfortunately not willing to conform to the guidelines agreed with the ICC prior to the event," he added.

"To ensure that there is no misunderstanding it is important for me to repeat that the News Access Guidelines for Broadcasting the ICC Cricket World Cup were issued in January 2011 and all news broadcasters were reminded of these Guidelines in a letter from the ICC on 27 January," he said.