Regulators

SC to Prasar Bharati: File replies to Ten plea

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today asked Prasar Bharati to file its replies on a petition filed by Ten Sports challenging a government norm making it mandatory for private broadcasters to share feeds of important events with the Indian pubcaster.

The Supreme Court has directed Prasar Bharati to enlist the terms and conditions under which it would like Ten Sports, exclusive rights holder of Pakistan cricket, to share the feed.

The case has been posted for hearing tomorrow.

Ten Sports has said in its petition that the Indian government has no legal jurisdiction to dictate, through rules and regulations, terms on a business deal that were concluded outside India and before a certain set of norms were implemented late 2004. 

Ten Sports is agreeable to share with Prasar Bharati / Doordarshan the feeds for the pubcaster's terrestrial network (at a price, of course), but is against such a feed being put by DD on its channels that are beamed via satellite too. Reason: Such broadcast will affect Ten's advertising revenue from cable TV.

Though Prasar Bharati, which is a gainer from government norms, kept a prudent silence today, sources in the organisation admitted that a commercial deal could be struck with Ten if the private channel was willing.

According to a report filed by the United News of India, Ten Sports had earlier submitted to a bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhan and Justice Tarun Chatterjee that it was willing to provide signals to Prasar Bharti if it would telecast the same along with its advertisements. UNI quotes senior counsel Harish Salve as pointing out that on an earlier occasion also, Prasar Bharti was directed to telecast 'dirty signals' (signals without any editing).

The Ten case comes at a time when the Indian cricket team is on a tour of Pakistan. Ten Sports holds exclusive TV rights to Pakistan cricket.

Meanwhile, ARY Digital, which holds the radio rights for Pakistan cricket, too, has been unable to strike an understanding with Prasar Bharati for broadcast on All India Radio.

The matter has got deadlocked over the price.

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