Information and Broadcasting Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunshi on Thursday said that he was expecting the final report on the discussion Ministry had with private sports broadcasters on the contentious issue of content sharing by next Monday.
“Our Ministry is in talks with the private sports broadcasters to know their concerns. I am expecting the final report from my Ministry by next Monday,” said Dasmunshi at the sidelines of announcing ONGC as the title sponsor of the National Football League series in the National Capital.
Asked whether the Ministry would take a fresh look at the whole issue, Dasmunshi said, “Our effort will be to strike a balance between safeguarding sports interest and public interest.”
Private sports broadcasters have already had two rounds of discussions with a committee headed by the I&B Ministry Secretary in which Prasar Bharti, and Sports Ministry are also taking part. The aim of the committee is to identify the events that need to be notified under the definition of ‘events of national importance’ in the downlinking policy under which the sports broadcasters have to share mandatorily with Doordarshan. The committee will also finalise the overall number of days of programming that needs to be shared with the public broadcaster, if those events are notified.
Present guidelines require all broadcasters to “share their feed with the Prasar Bharti for national and international sporting events of national importance, held in India or abroad, for terrestrial transmission and DTH broadcasting (free-to-air).”
It also states “in cases where rights have been obtained prior to the issue of the notification, the rights’ holders will be obliged to share the feed for all matches featuring India and the finals.”
Dasmunshi refused to comment on the issue of ESPN-STAR Sports and Ten Sports fighting against the policy in the court, saying it was a legal matter.