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Cable operators across the country warned against blocking DD channels

10-August-2002
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Cable operators across the country warned against blocking DD channels

Cable operators across the country have been warned against blocking various Doordarshan channels as it has been made mandatory for them to show both DD 1 and DD 2. And, those violating the provisions of the enactment will have to face a crackdown, the Chief Executive Officer of Prasar Bharati, K.S. Sarma, said.

Sarma, who held a meeting with cable operators in Hyderabad yesterday, said that they have been warned against violations of this mandatory requirement, and the law enforcement agencies will take appropriate measures including seizure of operators equipment, if necessary.

The cable operators had assured Sarma to comply with the mandatory requirement. However, the Commissioner of Police, and senior members of the law enforcement agencies had suggested certain changes to the enactment to make it more stringent. They favoured a law like the copyright infringement enactment that is easier to enforce and very effective.

For instance, in Andhra Pradesh, the cable penetration was remarkably high at about 84 per cent compared to 48 per cent of all-India average. And, when cable operators do not show DD fair, it is detrimental to the interest of viewers as even those who want to see do not have a choice.

Similar efforts would be initiated countrywide to impress upon cable operators the need to show DD channels as they have a lot of useful content, which is specially developed for viewers across the country. In fact, out of Rs 2,200 crore the Prasar Bharati spends, the revenues are just about Rs 700 crore. The rest of Rs 1,500 crore is from the Government grant.

This amount is deployed for programmes that have national relevance and of public importance. And, when cable operators block them and do not provide viewers a choice, especially when it has been made mandatory by an enactment, they need to abide by it, Sarma said.

With regard to changes in the Prasar Bharati, Sarma said that effort has been made to upgrade the equipment, provide superior uplink facility and ensure that all of the facilities would go digital as against a mix of analog and digital by the end of the year.

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