Thursday, July 26, 2012

Olympics coverage norms upset news channels


NEW DELHI: Rigid News Access Rules of the London Organizing Committee for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games prevent news channels from even giving live news breaks of achievements by Indians.Thus, while a channel can make an announcement whenever any Indian wins a medal, it can get the footage only around three hours later as the rights lie with Doordarshan and ESPN Star Sports.
In fact, the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) sent the News Access Rules to all its members late last week, asking them to exercise caution while covering the Olympics.Non-rights holders or channels that are not the official broadcasters can use a maximum of six minutes of Olympic material per day, in accordance with the News Access Rules.Besides, the six minutes footage cannot appear in more than three news programmes in a day and its duration cannot exceed two minutes in any one news programme.


The rules apply to all forms of broadcasting, television (free-to-air and pay television, cable, satellite, video on demand, including digital channels, digital multi-channels and services such as “news active” or ”sports active”), radio, Internet, mobile platforms and other interactive or electronic media.News channels that are telecasting Olympic-based programmes - studio discussions or special features - are not allowed to use words such as Olympic or London 2012 to brand or position their shows.


It is learnt that Hindi channels are using names like ‘London Mahakumbh’ while some other channels are using terms like ‘London Dreams’ or ‘India Mange Gold’. There is no restriction on the use of London 2012 or Olympic Games in the regular news bulletins.The guidelines also prevent television channels from using Olympic material for these shows. Olympic material includes “sounds or images of any Olympic event, wherever and whenever broadcast and however sourced, including sporting action, opening and closing ceremonies, medal ceremonies or other activities which occur at Olympic venues,” according to the rules.


Indian news channels are unhappy with the rules and feel that limited use of footage and other restrictions as those prescribed will also hit their commercial revenue around programmes based on the Games.NBA has, in fact, been urged to take up the issue as such access rules are framed at every major sporting event and affect the freedom of the news channels to report, sources said.In any case, news channels signing up for accreditation to cover the Games have to accept these rules automatically.


Television News Access Rules:
1. Use in News Programs only: The broadcast of Olympic material may be used only as a part of regularly scheduled daily news programmes, of which the actual news element constitutes the main feature. News programmes shall not be positioned or promoted as Olympic or London 2012 programs and Olympic Material cannot be used in any promotion for any news programme or any other programme whatsoever.
2. Six Minutes Per Day: Non-Rights Holders may use a maximum of six minutes of Olympic Material per day, in accordance with all other provisions of these News Access Rules.
3. Number of news programs, Length and Separation of News Excerpts: Subject to Clauses 1 and 2 above, Olympic material may be used in news programmes subject to the following provisions:
a) Olympic material may appear in no more than three news programmes per day; and
b) No more than two minutes of Olympic material may be used in any one news programme; and
c) These news programmes must be separated by a period of at least three (3) hours; and
d) No more than one third of any individual event may be used in any one news programmes or 30 seconds, whichever is the lesser time. However, if the duration of an individual Olympic event is less than 15 seconds, the whole of the event can be shown in a news programme.
4. All-News or All Sports Networks: In the case of an All-News or All Sports Networks, the networks may use a maximum of six minutes of Olympic material per day during multiple news programmes, subject to the following provisions:
a) in no more than six news programmes per day and does not exceed a total of one (1) minute in any one programme. These bulletins must be separated by a period of at least two hours; or
b) in accordance with Clause 3 above - i.e. 3x2x3.
5. Airing after Broadcast by Rights Holders only: Non-Rights Holders may only broadcast Olympic material within a news program in accordance with Clauses 1, 2, 3 and 4 above and all other conditions contained in these News Access Rules, as follows:
a) As of three hours following the broadcast of an Olympic event by the local Right Holding Broadcaster on free-to-air television in that territory;
b) If not broadcast by the local Rights Holding Broadcaster on free-to-air television in that territory on the day (local time) during which the Olympic event concluded, then as of the end of the broadcast day (i.e. 24:00 hours local time); or
c) Non-Rights Holders can broadcast Olympic material prior to the times referred to above, or can broadcast more Olympic material than allowed above, only with the specific written agreement of the local Rights Holding Broadcaster.
6. Courtesy Credit/Rights Holder “Bug”: Each Broadcast, communication or other broadcast of Olympic material in accordance with these News Access Rules must give an on-screen credit to the local Rights Holder by leaving on the Rights Holders watermark for the duration of the clip or, should the Olympic material not be sourced through the local Rights Holder, by adding a super video credit to the Rights Holder for the duration of the clip to read as follows: “Courtesy (Name of Rights Holder)”
7. Olympic material must not be Broadcast on interactive services such as 'News Active' or 'Sports Active', which would allow the viewer to make a viewing choice within a channel and to thereby view Olympic material at times other than when broadcast as part of a news programme as set out in Clause 1 above.
8. Should any fair dealing or similar provisions contained in any applicable national law permit the use by Non-Rights Holders of any footage of previous Olympic Games, then such footage will be included in the total of six minutes per day.
9. Olympic Material may only be used for a period of 48 hours following the completion of the actual event. After such period, Non-Rights Holders may only transmit archive Olympic material with the express prior written consent of the express prior written consent of the IOC.
10. For the sake of clarity, except as permitted within these News Access Rules, only Rights Holders are permitted to film within Olympic Venues and to Broadcast Olympic material. The broadcast of Olympic material by E Accredited Media, including Non-Rights Holders, via the Internet, Mobile Platform and other interactive media or electronic medium, is strictly prohibited and is a breach of these News Access Rules.

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