Text threat to cricket reporting

Newspapers and broadcasters could lose their press accreditation at international cricket matches unless they stop offering free over-by-over (OBO) text updates of live action online.

Cricket’s governing body, the International Cricket Council, plans to “strictly prohibit” OBO coverage at next year’s Cricket World Cup in the Caribbean, a move described by one senior online journalist as an extraordinary attempt to curb press freedom.

Guardian Unlimited, The Times and the BBC all provide the service, which is updated after every over or when a wicket falls during England matches.

The terms and conditions that journalists must agree to to gain access to grounds during the World Cup state: “For the avoidance of doubt, ball-by-ball and over-by-over updates for transmission via the radio, the internet or via any form of mobile device (including phones) or other related devices from within the ground are strictly prohibited.”

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