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Prasar Bharati Board approves finalising FreeDish policy

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MUMBAI: The Prasar Bharati board, at a meeting held on Monday, decided to finalise the FreeDish policy. According to an Asian Age report, the public service broadcaster gave its approval to Doordarshan which operates the entity. The finalised version will be submitted to Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB).

According to the referred report, the policy is likely to consider MIB’s direction to stop all e-auction of channels. However, in last meeting the decision was delayed with a fear that the directive could “wreck the finances of Prasar Bharati”.

Meanwhile, PTI reported that the broadcaster was earlier asked by the MIB to review the continuation of FreeDish. It felt that the programme benefited only private channels and brought recurring liability to the government. FreeDish boasts a reach of 22 million subscribers.

The matter had reached the Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal last year when channels reacted to its decision to suspend auctions after which an interim order allowed channels to continue at a pro rata basis till it decides on a new policy. The halting of auctions was done soon after Smriti Irani took charge as MIB minister. FreeDish was also looking at MPEG4 technology to carry more channels. Currently, it holds 80 channels.

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