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Broadcasters asked to step up publicity, even as Govt rules out extension of DAS Phase III

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NEW DELHI: Reiterating that there was no question of an extension of the 31 December deadline for switching off analogue signals, the Task Force of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry today urged broadcasters to step up their publicity in preparation for the final phase in December 2016.

The stakeholders were told that reports indicated that over 80 per cent of seeding of set top boxes (STBs) in all remaining urban areas that are to be covered in the current phase.

Broadcasters were also encouraged to come up with newer formats of their appeals to viewers on channels that would catch the attention of the target viewers.

The Task Force chaired by Special Secretary J S Mathur with the presence of Joint Secretary (Broadcasting) R Jaya was told that there was nothing in law to bar litigants from going to court and it was for the judiciary to deal with these issues.

At the same time, the government will make all efforts to defend itself in various courts.

Although the Bombay High Court and some other High Courts have already refused to extend the deadline, the Andhra Pradesh High Court has issued a stay till the next date and the Government said would be replied to. Similarly, a case relating to operators in Indore was coming up for hearing tomorrow (31 December).

Some participants who did not wish to be named told Indiantelevision.com that a bleak picture was sought to be presented by some participants including the Maharashtra Cable Operators Federation (MCOF) but the Ministry officials answered these queries.

Similarly, the Ministry turned down the demand by some states for extension of date.

A clarification was also given to the effect that while MSOs may use a single control room for transmitting DAS signals under Phase III and analogue under Phase IV, they would need IRDs from broadcasters for these signals.

The Task Force, which expects to release its minutes in a day or two, is also working out the figures of STBs available with direct-to-home (DTH) players that can be used. Clarifications were given with regard to queries by some stakeholders about STBs.

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