Television

HC refuses to grant interim relief to Ten Sports; admits plea

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MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court has admitted a petition filed by Ten Sports, challenging the Union Government's uplinking guidelines on telecasting the India-Pakistan matches scheduled next year. However, the court refused to grant any interim relief and adjourned the hearing till further order.

This means that Ten Sports' cricket telecast fortunes will hang in the balance. The Bombay High Court's Christmas vacation spans from 26 December 2005 to 8 January 2006 (both days inclusive). India plays its first Test in Lahore from 14 January to 18 January.

Yesterday, Ten Sports had submitted a proposal before the High Court expressing its willingness to share the cricket telecast feed with Doordarshan only in rural India's non-cable markets.

In the proposal, the channel had said it was ready to provide feed of sports events to Prasar Bharati in the rural Very Low Power Transmission (VLPT) areas, where cable is not available, as an interim measure.

Ten Sports had moved the Bombay High Court on 9 December challenging a government move on making it mandatory for private sports channels to share listed sporting events with pubcaster Doordarshan. The channel alleged that acquisition costs of such events run into millions of dollars and sharing feed with Doordarshan would mean a loss for the broadcaster in advertising and subscription revenue.

UNI adds that a consumer body called Consumer Action Network has also intervened in the matter and opposed the Ten Sports plea. The intervention was not opposed by the bench comprising Justices Ranjana Desai and Abhay Oak.

Ahmed Abidi, representing the forum, told the court that as per the Supreme Court guidelines, the signals had to be made available to DD and free-to-air channels also. He pointed out the Australian example where the Government has taken concrete steps in this regard.

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