Many who are skeptical about the integrity of New Limited and some of their news outlets are amused that they of all people should take the moral high ground over access to footage at the upcoming Rugby World cup in New Zealand. News limited have made the decision to boycott the World Cup due to what they believe to be the restrictive demands by the International Rugby Board around accreditation terms for journalists.
News Limited Journalists will cover the tournament from outside the game venues. One may ask why send them at all? Why not have them watch television and file from home if you are going to make such a decision?
This decision however will mean that online RWC coverage across the Tasman will be greatly reduced, as News Limited owns major newspapers in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide, and the Sunday Times in Perth.
News Limited is upset over accreditation conditions that restrict newspaper websites to running just ninety seconds of RWC highlight videos. The requirement is also that these must be taken, down after 48 hours and a demand for geographical blocking software that prevents overseas-based readers from accessing them.
When one considers the restrictions that News Limited puts on media for the sports they control the rights of, it is a rather amusing situation. It does however raise a very big issue.
Media rights for World cups, football, Cricket or Rugby along with the Olympics are now attracting massive amounts of money, and if you fall outside of these rights holders it is increasingly difficult to obtain accreditation, and the restrictions for non rights holders is becoming more onerous. Many of these sporting governing bodies have relied on large media contingents to pay top dollar at hotels for the duration of the tournaments, but as the restrictions mount, questions will be raised as to whether it is viable to send media to cover the event.
That results in the average man on the street suffering with coverage being extremely limited. A fine line is being walked and maybe News Limited’s stance will see the issue re-visited so that there is an ability to report and give one’s audience what they crave.