Private broadcasters failing to comply with the recent Government Ordinance on sharing live feeds of exclusive national sports events with Prasar Bharati will have to shell out up to Rs 1 crore as penalty.
The Ordinance, favouring Doordarshan and All India Radio, also empowers the Government to suspend or revoke a private broadcaster’s license for operating in India and its registration here.
Understandably, Prasar Bharati officials are happy with the Ordinance. “It’s not right that our viewers don’t get live feed of exclusive national sports channels. If they not willing to share with us, they better pay a penalty,” senior Prasar Bharati officials said.
The Government has promulgated the Sports Broadcasting Signals (mandatory sharing with Prasar Bharti) Ordinance from a retrospective affect, dating back to November 11, 2005.
The date is significant as it was on this date that the Government had issued its guidelines for downlinking of TV channels. And a few weeks later, on December 12, 2005, it had issued guidelines for up linking of channels from India.
Both guidelines would be deemed as issued under this Ordinance. In simple terms, it implies that these two guidelines, which were merely an executive order till last week, will now have the force of the law from retrospective effect.
Both executive orders stand challenged before the Delhi High Court by Nimbus Communication Ltd, which had approached the court apprehending that the Government might resort to some coercive methods under provisions of these guidelines to force them to share their exclusive feeds on the India-West Indies four match ODI series.
But the Ordinance, after according the two old executive guidelines the force of the law, has stipulated that no action of the Government, based on these guidelines, would be challenged in any court of law.
The Ordinance, promulgated from a retrospective date, however, does not contemplate any pecuniary fine on past defaulters, who refused to share their exclusive audio or video feeds with the public broadcaster.
The Ordinance also provides for a revenue sharing formula between private and public broadcasters. Advertisement sharing between private and the public broadcasters would be in the ratio of 75:25 in case of TV coverage and 50:50 in case of radio coverage.