Television

Sports content sharing with DD: GoM game but with riders

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NEW DELHI: A consensus seems to be emerging within a group of ministers (GoM) mandated to study the amendments in the uplink policy and framing of guidelines relating to downlink of TV channels into India.

The GoM broadly agrees with suggestions on content regulation and sharing of listed sports content with Doordarshan with “some changes” in the proposed guidelines.

“The ministers broadly agree on proposals prepared by the information and broadcasting ministry, but want some changes,” a minister, who is part of the GoM, said today after a meeting.

The minister, however, refused to divulge the nature of changes that have been suggested in the uplink and downlink policies by the GoM, saying, “Soon a note for the Union Cabinet would be prepared incorporating the changes if the consensus persists till the end.”

The uplink and downlink policies were referred to a GoM, headed by defense minister Pranab Mukherjee, by the Cabinet over a month back after differences arose within the government on a proposal to make it mandatory for any broadcaster to share with the Indian pubcaster listed sports events held within and outside the country.

This suggestion in the downlink and uplink policy --- the latter would be amended --- has been criticised as favouring the cash-strapped Prasar Bharati at the expense of private sports broadcasters.

Though it’s not clear, but it is expected that the GoM might suggest a slight dilution of this clause to say that all sporting events of national importance will have to be shared with Prasar Bharati on a prospective basis from the time this particular piece of legislation comes into effect.

It might also be suggested by the GoM that Doordarshan would telecast such events on its terrestrial networks only.

At the moment, as per the draft of the downlink policy, the government is looking at making it compulsory for sharing of sports events with DD, which can be used by it on all its networks, including a subscription-free DTH service.

The GoM includes ministers of finance, telecom, home, law & justice and information and broadcasting.

It has also been suggested in the downlink draft that foreign news channels can downlink to India provided local audiences are not specifically targeted through programmes and advertisements.

However, the government has taken note of representations made by foreign news channels and agencies and mooted that temporary uplink permission can be granted to such organisations for a year’s time provided certain conditions are fulfilled.

At the moment, uplink permission is granted by the Indian government to foreign news channels on a case to case basis for a very limited period of time on occasions like general elections.

The GoM has been told in a note prepared by the I&B ministry that uplink and downlink guidelines would be implemented “immediately” after clearance from the Cabinet through an executive order.

Also Read:

Cabinet refers downlink policy to GoM

Government may mandate sharing of sports telecast rights

Government moots riders for foreign news channels

Downlink Policy: Chandra has reservations

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