SC bars Prasar Bharati from airing borrowed feed through private DTH and cable operators
Prasar Bharati can only carry the shared feed of sporting events on terrestrial network or DD Free Dish
A division bench of the Supreme Court led by Justice Ranjan Gogoi has ruled that Prasar Bharati can only carry the shared feed of sporting events on terrestrial network or DD Free Dish. The apex court has made it clear that while the feed of a sporting event of national importance has to be shared mandatorily with Prasar Bharati, the public broadcaster cannot utilize it on a notified channel which has to be compulsorily carried by private distribution platforms.
From a legal standpoint, the case touched upon two legislations i.e. Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act, 2007 and Cable Television Networks Act. While the judgement enables Prasar Bharati to expropriate the feed, the private sports channels will henceforth not be competing against Prasar Bharati on a commercial basis for the same content.
The judgement which was pronounced today came as a major victory for Star India Pvt. Ltd. which had earlier obtained a similar verdict from a two-judge bench of the Delhi High Court comprising Justice BD Ahmed and Vibhu Bakhru. However, Prasar Bharati had approached the SC shortly after from where it got an interim stay order on Delhi HC’s judgement. At the time of filing of this report, exchange4media couldn’t obtain a written copy of the judgement but sources at a private broadcaster narrated the possible steps which could be taken by Prasar Bharati.
Either they can de-notify one of their channels and carry the shared feed on it or create a new channel like they did in the case of the Commonwealth Games 2010, a source mentioned. The judgement would secure private broadcasters like Star India from possible losses in subscription and advertising revenues due to sharing of signals with Prasar Bharati which were eventually carried by private DTH and cable operators.
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