Sydney - Major Australian media outlets said Monday they will boycott this
year's Rugby World Cup over "unreasonable" coverage restrictions on
video match highlights.
Heavyweights News Corporation Australia and Australian Associated Press hit
out at World Rugby, the international governing body overseeing the September
18-October 31 event in England, while Fairfax Media said it would also join the
"AAP is not prepared to sign away what it sees as fundamental editorial
rights so this is not a decision we've taken lightly," the domestic news
wire's editor-in-chief Tony Gillies said in a statement.
"The governing body's terms unreasonably limit editorialised video
News Corp's flagship daily The Australian broadsheet said "the
organisers insisted on draconian restrictions which would have impeded
The terms for official accreditation for journalists to cover the World Cup
would lead to a "surrender of your rights and obligations as a reporter
and photographer", added the group's editorial director Campbell Reid.
He told The Australian: "The kinds of restrictions that they are asking
us to live with not only expect us to abandon positions that are acceptable
under Australian law, but they are demanding that we turn over to them the
decisions of editors and publishing."
Australian media, which also boycotted the last World Cup in New Zealand in
a row over coverage restrictions, operate under a "fair use" practice
for content from sports events -- a concession some international sports
authorities have tried to end.
Geo-blocking of broadcast match content and limiting use to 48 hours were
"We're not seeking to shoot video within the venues but World Rugby
wants to dictate how and when the limited footage gleaned from outside the
venues under Australia's effective fair dealing principles is shown,"
A Fairfax Media spokesperson confirmed that the company's leading dailies
The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age "do not accept the terms and rules
proposed by Rugby World for accreditation of journalists".
The Australian quoted World Rugby spokesman Dominic Rumbles as saying he was
aware that Fairfax and News Corp would not seek World Cup accreditation.
"We are disappointed for fans and remain hopeful of resolution,"
Sports governing bodies and media organisations have clashed repeatedly in
recent years as the authorities seek to limit coverage rights and maximise