In a move that has brought cheer to the Zee camp, the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has directed Prasar Bharti to restore signals of three Zee Group channels – Zee Smile, Zee Jagaran and ETC Music – on the DD Direct DTH platform. The next hearing on the case is set for October 13, 2008.
Accepting a petition filed by Zee-Turner, a 70:30 venture between Zee Group and media major Turner International, TDSAT has issued notice to Prasar Bharti, directing it to file a reply. “Prasar Bharti is directed to restore Zee-Turner’s three channels – Zee Smile, Zee Jagaran and ETC Music – on DD Direct,” said the TDSAT Bench headed by Justice Arun Kumar.
In its petition, Zee-Turner had alleged that Prasar Bharti had disconnected signals from its direct-to-home (DTH) platform for not paying the carriage fee. It further submitted that earlier the carriage-fee was just Rs 25 lakh, but Prasar Bharti had ‘arbitrarily’ increased it to Rs 60 lakh.
Zee-Turner also submitted that prior to disconnection, Prasar Bharti did not give serve any notice. “We are ready to deposit Rs 60 lakh, subject to the final outcome of the order,” Zee’s counsel said.
It may be recalled that last week, while admitting petitions from two other broadcasters – Total Telefilms and Chardhikala TV (a Punjab-based channel) – TDSAT had directed Prasar Bharti to restore their channels on DD Direct, accepting a deposit Rs 25 lakh.