SC stumps DD's lunch break 'Fourth Umpire'

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court bowled another googly today that has stumped pubcaster Prasar Bharati.

On a petition by Ten Sports, which is the exclusive rights holder for Pakistan cricket, the apex court today directed the Prasar Bharati-managed Doordarshan to stop putting up its own cricket programming during lunch break off the ongoing India-Pakistan one-day series.

Directing DD to carry a "uninterrupted feed" from Ten Sports, Justices Ashok Bhan and Arun Kumar said that DD cannot insert its own cricket programmes in between matches.

Ten Sports had complained to the court that Prasar Bharati was violating the 30 January order directing the public broadcaster to carry the "uninterrupted feed" from beginning to the end.

DD had mounted the Fourth Umpire analysis programme during the lunch break, while Ten has insisted that it should carry its Straight Drive.

Contacted by today, Prasar Bharati CEO KS Sarma said, "It's not straight, but we will have to take off DD's Fourth Umpire during lunch breaks for (Ten Sport's) Straight Drive." However DD, according to Sarma, can have the Fourth Umpire before and after each one-day match.

Appearing for Prasar Bharati, Solicitor General GE Vahanvati submitted that Doordarshan was carrying the uninterrupted feed and its programme Fourth Empire was aired during the lunch break when there was no live coverage of the match, which did not cut any ice with the judges.


Meanwhile, according to reports available, cricket, tennis and chess have been included in the list of sports that are of national importance by the government as part of the downlink norms, which make it mandatory for private broadcasters to share with DD on a mandatory basis listed sports.

League hockey matches are not part of the listed events, but finals of tournaments where India is playing must be shared. F1 races, which had been demanded by DD to be included as part of the listed events, did not find a place.

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