Sri Lanka Australia Tests open with global media locked out

BRISBANE, Australia, Nov 8, 2007 (AFP) – Australia’s Test cricket season opened Thursday with international fans unable to follow the action after organisers locked global news agencies out of the ground in Brisbane. The restriction was lifted 90 minutes before the tournament kicked off. The row also left Australia’s largest media organisation, News Limited, unable to cover the first day of the Australia-Sri Lanka Test, although it secured a breakthrough with Cricket Australia later in the day.

The world’s top three global news agencies — Agence France-Presse, Reuters and Associated Press — have suspended all coverage of the 2007-08 season unless a deal can be agreed.

They say the dispute centres on unprecedented demands by CA, including that they hand over rights to all photos taken at matches.

The first day of the season thus began with journalists and photographers from international news agencies and News Limited locked out of Brisbane’s Gabba ground without accreditation.

It ended with CA issuing an apology after spokesman Peter Young said News Limited was only interested in transferring money from cricket’s indigenous and schools programmes “into the pockets of (News Limited chief) Rupert M