Rs.10 mn fine for denying sports feeds to Doordarshan
Live Punjab News Service
New Delhi -- A government ordinance that compels private broadcasters to share live feeds of exclusive national sports events with Prasar Bharati provides for a penalty up to Rs One crore (Rs 10 million) by defaulting media channels.
The ordinance favouring Doordarshan and All India Radio also empowers the government to suspend or revoke the private broadcaster's license for operating in India and its registration here.
The Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharti) Ordinance, 2007 was approved by the union cabinet Thursday and accorded President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam's nod late Friday. The government notified it Saturday.
The government has promulgated the ordinance from retrospective affect, dating back to Nov 11, 2005.
The date is significant. It was on this date that the government had issued its guidelines for downlinking of TV channels. And a few weeks later, on Dec 12, 2005, it had issued guidelines for up linking of channels from India.
Both guidelines would be deemed as issued under this ordinance. In simple terms, it implies that these two guidelines, which were merely an executive order till last week, will now have the force of the law from retrospective effect.
Both executive orders stand challenged before the Delhi High Court by Nimbus Communication Ltd, which had approached the court, apprehending that the government may resort to some coercive methods under provisions of these guidelines to force them to share their exclusive feeds on the Indo-West Indies four match one-day series lasting Feb 1.
But the ordinance, after according the two old executive guidelines the force of the law, has stipulated that no action of the government, based on these guidelines, would be challenged in any court of law.
The ordinance, promulgated from a retrospective date, however, does not contemplate any pecuniary fine on past defaulters, who refused to share their exclusive audio or video feeds with the public broadcaster.
The ordinance also provides for a revenue sharing formula between private and public broadcasters. Advertisement sharing between private and the public broadcasters would be in the ratio of 75:25 in case of TV coverage and 50:50 in case of radio coverage.