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PILs filed against restriction of sharing sports feed of “national importance” with DD platforms

Both the High Courts have posted the matter for hearing in late July

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MUMBAI: Two separate petitions filed over a rule relating to the broadcasting of sports feeds by DD channels will be heard soon in the high courts of Delhi, and Punjab & Haryana. While the media rights holders of sporting events with “national importance” are bound to share the live feeds with public broadcaster Prasar Bharati, the rule restricts the telecast of such matches only on the terrestrial network and DTH operator of the pubcaster.

According to a report from Economic Times, the petitioners are of the view that restricting the live telecast to the terrestrial and DTH networks of Prasar Bharati defeated the purpose of Section 3 (1) of the Sports Broadcasting Signals Act related to mandatory sharing with the pubcaster. Ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup, the PILs have been filed seeking direction on allowing Prasar Bharati to live telecast the matches on its channels available on private cable and DTH platforms.

Vaibhav Jain and Ramesh Kumar filed the PILs in the Delhi High Court and in the Punjab & Haryana HC respectively. Both high courts have posted the matter for hearing in late July while the World Cup will end before that on 14 July.

The Supreme Court imposed restrictions on such retransmission back in August 2017. The report quoted a legal expert saying he doesn’t expect the high courts to give any interim relief to the petitioners in light of the Supreme Court judgement. But given that these are PILs, there are chances of spending some time to look for merits.

Earlier, Supreme Court clarified in its order that sharing of signals with Prasar Bharati was aimed at giving access to consumers who otherwise did not have access rather than reaching consumers who have already subscribed to private cable and DTH networks.

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