The world?s press have called on Rugby World Cup officials to drop restrictions on the publication of digital images from matches – claiming that they violate press freedom.

Former chief executive of New Zealand Rugby Union David Rutherford is today reported to have written to the International Rugby Board accusing officials of ?improperly seeking to interfere in the gathering and publishing of news in the short term pursuit of the dollar?.

Getty Images, Reuters and The Associated Press are among organisations demanding that the International Rugby Board remove rules which require media to agree to publish no more than five images per half of normal playing time on any single website.

Press rules also demand that no more than two images per half of extra time are published from the tournament which is due to take place in France in September.

Leading the fight is the Paris-based World Association of Newspapers (WAN), which claims to represent 18,000 newspapers.