Update 2: The Guardian, The Times, The Sun and France’s sport paper L’Equipe have joined the boycott. Guardian reports: “Last night the Guardian decided not to publish any live photos from events at the Rugby World Cup either online or in print.” L’Equipe’s Rugby World Cup 2007 site is a joint venture with MSN.
– French sports ministry statement (via Reuters): “(French Sports Minister) Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin has called IRB chief executive Mike Miller … to raise his awareness of the need to resume dialogue quickly”.
Update 1: After five major news agencies boycotted pre-tournament and training session reporting of Rugby World Cup 2007 over restrictions on online media coverage, the World Association of Newspapers this morning issued a statement on behalf of the 40-strong coalition of news media opposing the rules, calling on the International Rugby Board to accept a “negotiated settlement”.
– WAN statement: “It is more than two days since the news media organisations put forward a possible peace plan – but the IRB has yet to formally respond or to set up a meeting … Regrettably there remains a small number of key areas which have yet to be addressed and resolved by RWCL and IRB. These included restrictions on news website picture content during games and on daily non-game video footage … We remain committed to ensuring our customers and rugby fans around the world have accurate, timely, informed and independent news and coverage.”
Original post: As it stands, with just hours to go before Rugby World Cup 2007 opens in Paris, there will be no coverage of the build-up from Reuters, the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, Getty Pictures and Germany’s DPA. Though meetings last week resulted in some concessions, their coalition of 40 news agencies remains so displeased with the organising International Rugby Board’s (IRB) limitations on online coverage, they have pulled text, photographic and TV coverage of training sessions and pre-tournament events (apart from the whole debacle itself) .
– Rules: There’s hope of a last-minute resolution – AFP: “The protest action was to be reviewed by the agencies on Friday after new negotiations.” The coalition had challenged new IRB rules limiting in-game online photos to 20 per half and non-match day online video to three minutes, designed to safeguard broadcaster rightsholders’ investments.
– Reaction: IRB statement (via AFP): “Rugby World Cup Limited will not be swayed by unreasonable demands and the threat of non-attendance.” AP’s Dave Tomlin (via SJA): “We have decided that it makes no sense to continue sending journalists to events where it grows more doubtful every day that they will gain admittance without accepting terms that are unacceptable and still the subject of ongoing negotiations.