'Indian broadcasters' raise voice against phased CAS rollout

MUMBAI: Even as a section of broadcasters remained closeted with Prime Minister's Office (PMO) officials today, another got together separately to voice its opposition to the way conditional access is proposed to be implemented in the country.

 In a meeting held today in New Delhi, 'Indian broadcasters' comprising Aaj Tak CEO G Krishnan , Sab TV vice chairman Markand Adhikari, Sahara India deputy director Sumit Roy and Eenadu TV's I Venkat decried the delay in the implementation of CAS in the country on various pretexts, including a rollout plan.

In a joint statement, the Indian broadcasters have collectively taken a stand against the proposed rollout plan stating that this is the only government legislation that has been passed by the Parliament unanimously. The delay in the implementation of CAS in the country would work against the public’s interest, and would also seriously erode the credibility of the Government, the statement says. The government should not differentiate between the people living in different localities within the same metro, the broadcasters observed. By doing so, the government would be falling into the deferment trap being laid down by those who have vested interests, the statement adds.

As an alternative, the broadcasters have recommended a 30-day relief period for the rollout in which all FTA and pay channels would have to be provided by the MSOs within the cap of Rs 72 as stipulated by the information and broadcasting ministry earlier.

"It is quite noteworthy that those opposing the implementation of CAS are either foreign broadcasters or those who have a keen eye on the DTH business. They are the ones who are trying to delay the implementation of CAS even though they do not conform to Indian rules and regulation, since the implementation would act in favour of the Indian cable industry. Any further deferment in the implementation of CAS might seriously affect the cable industry in India, and expose it to the risk of DTH players taking over the business," the statement notes.

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