Upholding Prasar Bharati’s view, the Delhi High Court has held that whosoever airs live television broadcast of sporting events of national importance must share the same with the national broadcaster without any commercials.
A division bench made the observations while dismissing a TV channel’s plea seeking a direction to Prasar Bharati not to insist on the live signal of international cricket matches of India without any commercials.
On April 6, 2013, Prasar Bharati, in a communication to ESPN, had said that it was not in a position to share the live signals which were not clean and insisted that the channel provided the feed of the matches without any commercials.
The matter came to court regarding providing of signals for the ICC Champions Trophy 2013. After hearing the arguments from both the parties in June this year, the Delhi High Court directed ESPN to provide “live signals, which would be clean without any commercials to Doordarshan, so that Doordarshan would be able to telecast the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 as per commitment and object of the Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act 2007 (11 of 2007)”.
The Court stated, “This is to emphasise that in terms of the Sports Act, 2007, the feed provided to DD by the rights holder has to be clean without any commercials. Doordarshan is not in a position to share live signal which is not clean as it amounts to violation of the Sports Act.”