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Sports broadcasters to take legal route against MIB diktat

Sports broadcasters to take legal route against MIB diktat

The sports broadcasters in India are considering to take the legal route for an injunction against a Ministry of Information and Broadcasting order. The broadcasters are irked by the MIB order which makes it mandatory to for sports channels to display a ticker during the live broadcast of the “national interest” event that the game/match […]

The sports broadcasters in India are considering to take the legal route for an injunction against a Ministry of Information and Broadcasting order.

The broadcasters are irked by the MIB order which makes it mandatory to for sports channels to display a ticker during the live broadcast of the “national interest” event that the game/match can also be viewed on Doordarshan.

The broadcasters, which are already made to share the feed of the “national interest” events with the State-owned free to air channel Doordarshan, are seriously considering to seek legal protection against the May 25 order. The May 25 MIB order, making it mandatory for the channels to run the text message (scroll/ticker) “This match/game can also be viewed on DD” has been enforced with immediate effect. The MIB order further stated that the scroll/ticker needed to be run “in appropriate colour, font and size making it prominently visible every 15 minutes”.

Also Read: Mandatory for channels to display ‘shared feed’ is available on DD

Meanwhile, former I&B Minister Manish Tewari has raised serious questions about the MIB order. “Asking channels to run a scroll is a logic-defying move as only those who have subscribed to pay channels will be able to see the scroll. Is I&B Ministry telling those viewers to unsubscribe and move to free-to-air platforms?” Economic Times has reported Tewari as saying.

The fundamental question that needs to be asked is – Does the public broadcaster have a unique and special place in a liberated media environment that stretched back 27 years to 1991 when satellite television entered India, Tewari has questioned. “In an environment where we have 891 TV channels, is there a case for Prasar-Bharati is a question no one is asking. And if the answer is no, the entire act needs to be revisited,” Tewari added.

“This diktat lacks any statutory or policy foundation. Rather, it goes way beyond the remit of the Sports Mandatory Sharing Act as adjudicated upon by the Supreme Court in its judgement in the matter of Union of India vs BCCI dated August 22, 2017. If this notice is not challenged or allowed to be implemented, then it will undermine the investments made by private broadcasters in acquiring rights from sports federations,” TOI has quoted an anonymous broadcast executive as saying.

The industry has termed this as an illogical move. “After the Supreme Court order, the DD channel, where the matches will be shared, will not be available on private DTH or cable. So there is no advantage to DD, apart from getting free publicity,” an industry expert has said.

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