High Court asks private news channels to adhere to Olympic telecast rules

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has asked all private television channels not to violate the guidelines relating to the footage of the ongoing Olympics in Beijing for which the International Olympic Association has given exclusive rights to Prasar Bharati.

Ms Justice Reva Khetrapal noted that the rules were clear that "private channels shall use the footages upto the specified limit of 10 seconds at a time and two minutes per day in their news programmes". The court said its ruling related to all news channels including those not represented in court.

The order came yesterday in response to a petition filed by Prasar Bharati against news channels run by TV India Ltd, NDTV, Times Now, and others, particular in view of telecast of the opening ceremony.

The public broadcaster has now been asked to file details of the loss it has suffered because of violation by various news channels and claim damages if any.

The Court has listed the matter to come up for further hearing on 26 August by when Prasar Bharati will also file its affidavit as the Olympics are ending on 24 August.

A senior Doordarshan official linked to sports coverage told that DD had been monitoring the telecast being done by various news channels directly and through TAM. The official said while the sports channels had generally worked out agreements with DD about sharing signals, the news channels had failed to do so.

DD Counsel Dinkar Kalra told that he expects to raise the issue of contempt of court order before the court on 24 August since the news channels have continued to violate yesterday's order.

The Television News Access Rules framed by the International Olympics Committee say that when exclusive television rights to broadcast the Olympics are granted by the IOC to any organisation for a particular territory, "no other organisation may broadcast sound or images of any Olympic events including sporting action, opening, closing and medal ceremonies, other activities (including training and interviews) which occur at Olympic venues in that territory".

However, the rules say that in appropriate cases, the IOC may agree with rights holders in their particular territories to issue supplemental news access rules for such territories

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