Final report on encryption mandate issue still not ready

NEW DELHI: Prasar Bharati has still to receive the report of the technical sub-group set up by the Union Cabinet on the issue of setting encryption mandates for Doordarshan‘s terrestrial signals.

Sources in the sub-group headed by All India Radio Director-General Brajeshwar Singh, which has so far failed to reach a conclusive decision, have told that the draft report will be circulated for their comments among the members after it is completed and only then submitted to Prasar Bharati.

This flies in the face of the assurances given on 8 March in the Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament) by information & broadcasting minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi, that a committee looking into the issue would have its report ready by 16 March (tomorrow).


It also comes against the backdrop of the Board for Control of Cricket in India’s offer to bear the cost of encrypting all 1,400 DD transmitters, in an effort to sort out the imbroglio between Doordarshan and Nimbus with regard to sharing of live sports telecast feed with the public broadcaster.

BCCI Secretary Niranjan Shah has told that encryption of all DD transmitters would cost around Rs 20 million and could be completed in about two weeks. India cricket rights holder Nimbus has warned the BCCI it would demand compensation for "dilution of the value of its property" if the issue is not sorted out.

It is worth recalling that Dasmunsi had told the House on 8 March that "three meetings have been held and 16th (March) is the last meeting. After the outcome of the meetings, wherever necessary provision is required, can be made. We can put it in the rules. That is why, I kept Section 7 vide giving the Central government the power and I shall again report back to Parliament where the rules will be laid in both the Houses."


The setting of mandates for encryption was suggested after private broadcasters said sharing live sporting events with DD leads to piracy. The Union Cabinet had suggested while setting up the sub-group that DD signals should be encrypted in a manner that only DD’s terrestrial transmitting centres receive the feeds.

Encryption of signals for a particular channel is an accepted practice overseas.

ESPN Star, Nimbus and Zee, among other broadcasters, had demanded that DD signals be encrypted as the public broadcaster had a reach spanning a vast area from West Asia to Singapore.


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