Regulators

SC adjourns Doordarshan’s telecast of WC 2015 case to 19 Feb

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NEW DELHI: Prasar Bharati was asked today by the Supreme Court to examine the feasibility of starting a new Doordarshan channel exclusively to telecast 2015 World Cup cricket matches without the compulsion of the must-carry clause.

The bench sought this view on a suggestion made by Star and ESPN who had won a case in Delhi High Court to the effect that Doordarshan should not share the World Cup Cricket telecasts with cable operators.

During the hearing of the appeal by Prasar Bharati which was adjourned to 19 February, Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose asked Prasar Bharati to examine the technical feasibility and otherwise of starting a new channel, subscription of which could be regulated for the cable operators.

The Court meanwhile extended the interim order allowing DD to telecast all matches till the next hearing.

The bench also asked Star, ESPN and the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) to give an estimate of losses they were likely to suffer in case DD was permitted to beam matches after sharing live feeds with cable operators.

During the hearing, the bench observed that it wanted people to enjoy cricket matches without any hurdles and that the revenue dispute should be resolved amicably between the parties.

The Court also accepted an intervention by multi-system operator Home Cable through Vikki Choudhary and asked him to file an additional affidavit on the formula suggested by ESPN and Star Sports.

While admitting the case last week, the Apex Court had said in its interim order: "This arrangement of DD showing free feed has been there for the last seven years. Let it continue." 

In its judgment, the High Court had refused to strike down the must carry clause of 2000 under which cable operators have to carry signals of Doordarshan, and also the Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act 2007.

A bench of Justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva passed the order on the plea of BCCI, ESPN and Star who had contended that cable TV operators were getting live feeds through DD channels free of cost, resulting in loss of revenue for them.

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