The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued a letter to Tata Sky, the yet-to-be-launched DTH service from Tata and STAR, appealing it not to carry MTV, Nickelodeon or any such channel which has refused access to any DTH service provider in a non-discriminatory manner.
In the letter dated June 26, 2006, a copy of which is with exchange4media, the Ministry had said, “You are requested to kindly keep in mind the above provisions (DTH License Agreement), while providing channels on your platform, and any violation of the above shall be treated as violation of terms and conditions of licensing agreement.”
This comes after a TDSAT order, dated February 10, 2006, in which the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal had passed an order against MTV India Pvt Ltd for denying the signals of MTV and Nickelodeon channels to the petitioner, ASC Enterprises, the promoter of Dish TV. Later, MTV moved to the Supreme Court, which accepted the appeal but refused to stay the TDSAT order. The next hearing is scheduled for July 12, 2006.
According to the Clause 6.5 of the DTH License Agreement, a licensee shall not carry the signals of a broadcaster against whom any regulatory body tribunal or court has inter alia found that it has refused access on a non-discriminatory basis to another DTH operator contrary to regulations of TRAI.
Interestingly, since last month, Dish TV has reached an agreement with One Alliance, the distribution arm of SET India and Discovery Networks, and has started providing the One Alliance bouquet on its DTH platform sans MTV and Nickelodeon.
In a similar case, TDSAT recently passed an interim order prohibiting Tata Sky from carrying the STAR channels as STAR India has refused signals to Dish TV. The final hearing of the case before the tribunal is scheduled for July 3, 2006.