Scatmag.com

February 2020

DEMAND FOR FREE LIVE CRICKET ON DD OTT


BACKGROUND

Under the Sports Broadcast Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Rules, 2007, sports broadcasters are required to provide the feed of sporting events of national importance, to Prasar Bharati for free retransmission on the public broadcaster's terrestrial & FreeDish DTH network.

Star India appealed in court against the original law, which required Cable TV & DTH networks to retransmit the signals from Doordarshan, for maximum public coverage. However, the courts ruled that no retransmission of DD signals was permitted, by private Cable TV networks & DTH platforms. Only direct broadcast of the live sports content by Doordarshan was permitted.




THE OTT ERA

In January 2020, a PIL was filed in the Madras High Court by a Mumbai-based sound engineer Aditya Modi. The PIL contended that citizens having access to the internet were being denied access to sports events of national importance.

The PIL contended that all sports events of National Importance must be streamed by Doordarshan on its OTT platform, for public consumption.



THE RULING

The bench of Chief Justice AP Sahi and Justice Subramonium Prasad of the Madras High Court has directed the central government to take a decision whether the Sports Act 2007 can be amended to allow Doordarshan to stream sporting events of national importance on its Over The Top (OTT) platforms.

The bench ordered officials to take an appropriate decision supported by "cogent & plausible reasons preferably within three months." It also stated that this was a clear subject of policy decision to be undertaken by the government after examining various factors. n