NGO seeks ban on tobacco ads during World Cup

An NGO Monday sought a ban on tobacco advertisements during the cricket World Cup, saying these will have an adverse effect on the minds of the people.

New Delhi-based HRIDAY (Health Related Information Dissemination Amongst Youth) Monday wrote to International Cricket Council (ICC) President Sharad Pawar on the issue, the group’s communications officer Nikunj Sharma told.

The letter was written by organisation’s senior director Monika Arora, he said.

Given the World Cup fever that has gripped the sub-continent, Indian tobacco giant ITC has commissioned the display of messages like “Beating the Best” or “Grabbing a Flier” to promote its cigarette brands at various points of sale (PoS), he said.

“This is in violation of the tobacco control rules, which say display boards should only list the type of tobacco products available, he said.

“No brand pack shot, brand name of the tobacco product or other promotional message and picture should be displayed on the board,” he added.

“In a country where 5,500 youth experiment with tobacco every day, such advertisements and promotion of cigarettes will strengthen the sport’s association with tobacco use in the minds of youth” according to Sharma.

Arora, in the letter, cited the example how Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, true to his promise and character, refused a mega offer to endorse a liquor brand.

“He has set a classic example of how he believes that cricket has the power to influence the mind and thinking of people of India” Arora wrote.

A study conducted in India has concluded that wrong perceptions about smoking promoted by tobacco sponsorship increased smoking initiation amongst both boys and girls even when they are aware of the risks involved, she said.

HRIDAY is engaged in activities aiming to promote health awareness and informed health activism among school and college students in India since 1992.

It works in collaboration with the ministry of health and family welfare and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Make this World Cup the last with leather balls: PETA

 With cricket being the flavour of the season, a noted animal rights body is now batting against the exploitation of animals in the ‘gentleman’s game’.

Urging for the top cricketing body to switch from using real leather balls to synthetic balls, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has written to Sharad Pawar, president of the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Poorva Joshipura, chief functionary, Peta says, “As the so-called ‘Gentleman’s game,’ cricket should be gentle on animals and the environment by making the switch to synthetic balls.”

She writes in her letter, “You are in a unique position to create a change that would alleviate massive suffering and destruction. Won’t you please step up to bat for animals and the environment by using your influence to ban leather balls and replace them with synthetic balls instead?”

Animal rights activists say although millions of fans across the globe are currently enjoying the World Cup, cricket is anything but fun for the animals whose skins are used to make balls for the sport, and leather production wreaks havoc on the environment.

Synthetic-leather balls can be more durable and water repellent than their leather counterparts, and sportspersons have said to have reported such balls to better play. Given the superiority of composite leather balls, other sports have already switched over to their use.

In the US, both the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) play with synthetic-leather basketballs. Activists point out that many animals who are slaughtered for their skin endure extreme crowding and deprivation; castration, branding, tail-docking and dehorning without being given any pain relief; and cruel transport and slaughter.

The process of obtaining leather from animal skins has been reported to be cruel and inhuman. “The animals are marched to slaughter for days without food or water. When the animals collapse from exhaustion, workers often smear the animals’ eyes with chilli peppers and tobacco and break their tails in an effort to keep them moving,” says Joshpuria.

“At abattoirs in India, animals are often skinned and dismembered while they are still conscious. What’s more, turning animal skins into leather requires massive amounts of toxic chemicals, and runoff from leather tanneries poisons rivers and streams,” she adds.

A report by the Central Pollution Control Board found that Vellore, Tamil Nadu, which has about 6,000 tanneries is alarmingly polluted. Tannery workers are exposed to chemicals that have been linked to cancer, respiratory infections and other illnesses.

Studies of leather-tannery workers in Sweden and Italy found cancer risks between 20 and 50 per cent above expected levels.

Court bans illegal telecast of World Cup cricket matches

The Delhi High Court has restrained around 144 cable operators across the country from telecasting the ongoing cricket World Cup, which they did by unauthorisedly accessing signals of ESPN Software India Pvt Ltd (ESIPL).The court was hearing a suit filed by the company seeking an order to restrain cable operators from unauthorisedly broadcasting the tournament.

The ICC Cricket World Cup, being co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, is being telecast on ESPN, STAR Sports and STAR Cricket channels from Feb 19 to April 2.

Allowing ESIPL’s plea against the unauthorised accessing of telecast signals by cable operators, Justice Gita Mittal said: “After this order, anyone showing the broadcast of ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 through any unauthorised means or any other channel will be held in contempt of court and liable for prosecution.”

The court, in an order delivered Friday and made available Monday, asked all cable operators to file a status report within a week’s time.

ESIPL in its suit claimed that the defendants, approximately 144 cable operators, are taking unauthorized connections and they are unauthorisedly accessing signals of the plaintiff without taking a licence from the company.

The court gave permission to ESIPL to take action against all other cable operators not party to the suit but unauthorisedly utilising the feed of ESPN, STAR Sports and STAR Cricket without licence.

The court said: “Restrained the 144 named cable operators from transmitting and/or telecasting in any manner whatsoever without licence from ESS (ESPN STAR Sports) the telecast of ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.”

The cable operators have been restrained from telecasting or transmitting any other channel or in any other manner infringing the copyright or re-broadcast right of ESPN STAR Sports.

The court issued injunction against unnamed cable operators indulging in the illegal telecast and told police to render assistance to ESIPL to enforce the order.

Court allows Hockey India team to play in world cup

The Supreme Court on Tuesday permitted Hockey India (HI) to send its women’s hockey team to Argentina to participate in the 12th Women’s Hockey World Cup championship starting Aug 29. The team of HI, a private sport association separate from the government recognised and K.P.S Gill-led Indian

Hockey Federation (IHF), will leave for Argentina Aug 21.

The HI’s women team got the apex court nod after the central government failed to inform it (court) whether the International Hockey Federation (FIH), which is organizing the world cup, would permit the IHF to participate in the event.

The government told the court that it had sent a communication to the FIH and a reply was awaited.

The FIH last week wrote a letter to sports ministry, reminding that the IHF had been derecognised by it way back in 2000 for not adhering to the world body’s guidelines.

In an earlier hearing, the government told the court that it was confident that the FIH would permit the team sponsored by the IHF to participate in the world cup.

Ironically, Hockey India which is recognized by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the FIH is not recognized by the Indian government.

An apex court bench of Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice H.L. Gokhale while listing the case for further hearing Aug 25 said that the HI and the IOA were permitted to send a hockey team for participation in the women’s world cup in Argentina Aug 29-Sep 11.

The court noted that the team selected by the HI and the IOA is the same that had been identified and selected by the Sports Authority of India.

However, the court made it clear that its order was not intended to accept the contention of the HI.

The court said that it was only a temporary arrangement having regard to the fact that the team has to leave for the event starting Aug 21.

The HI had moved the apex court challenging the withdrawal of its recognition by the central government.

The HI had contended that it was the sole body authorized to send its team to participate in the world cup as it was recognized by the FIH.

Earlier, when counsel for the government questioned how a private body could represent the country in an international event, the court pointed out that even the Board of Control for Cricket in India was a private body.

When senior counsel Indu Malhotra representing the IOA told the court that they were neutral on this issue, the court observed that IOA’s neutrality was helping Hockey India.

Appearing for Hockey India, senior counsel Rohinton Nariman and Ashok Desai told the court that their client has selected the team and there was little time left for them to make final arrangements before leaving for the host country.

The court was told that if the team was not allowed to leave then India would not be able to participate in the hockey championship.