Delhi HC wants to know if DTH players can run FM channels and VAS

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has sought a response of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and six direct-to-home (DTH) operators on a public interest litigation seeking to restrain DTH service providers from carrying any channel or value added service (VAS) which are not registered with or permitted by the government.

The court passed the order on the plea of Hyderabad-based NGO Media Watch-India (MWI) which alleged that DTH service providers carry self-promotion advertisements in violation of uplinking and downlinking guidelines.

Listing the matter for 4 March next year, a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice P S Teji issued notice to the Ministry as well as six DTH providers - Bharti Telemedia, Tata Sky, Dish TV, Sun Direct TV, Reliance Big TV and Bharat Business channel.

Counsel Gaurav Kumar Bansal said that value added services like 'movie on demand' or games are provided without specific licence from the Ministry. The NGO has said that even FM radio channels are being illegally provided and has sought orders restraining the DTH operators from providing these services.

The petitioner contended that the Ministry instead of taking action against these entities has been playing the role of a spectator while "statutory guidelines are being flouted with impunity by the private DTH operators".

Meanwhile, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had recently issued a consultation on regulating platform services of service provider including MSOs cable operators and DTH operators and has also given the recommendation on 19 November which are under consideration of the Ministry.

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