MIB extends deadline for submitting comments on draft sports bill till 15 Jan

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MUMBAI: The ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) has extended the deadline for providing comments on Draft Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharti) (Amendment) Bill, 2018 till 15 January.

The ministry has extended the deadline for receiving comments for the second time. Earlier, the ministry had extended the deadline till 31 December. The ministry had put the Draft Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharti) (Amendment) Bill, 2018 in public domain on 17 October seeking feedback/comments on the draft bill.

“It is informed that the deadline for receiving feedback/comments from General Public/Stakeholders on the said draft Bill, 2018 to enable telecast of ‘Sporting events of National importance’ on mandatory channels of Doordarshan via Cable/DTH/IPTV Operators has been further extended by this Ministry till 15.01.2019,” MIB said in its notice.

The ministry has proposed to amend The Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act, 2007 (Sports Act 2007) in order to ensure that the events of national importance have widest possible reach.

The ministry proposes to amend section 3(1) of the Sports Act to ensure mandatory sharing of the signals of such sporting events with “other networks, where it is mandatory to show the Doordarshan channels as per the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995”, according to a ministry notice, seeking feedback from people and the stakeholders on the draft bill that carries the amendments to the Sports Act.

The move to amend the Sports Act 2007 has been necessitated due to a Supreme Court verdict which held that the public broadcaster Doordarshan cannot air events of national importance on private distribution platforms.

As per the order, the broadcast of events of national importance has to be restricted to Prasar Bharati’s own terrestrial and direct to home (DTH) platforms. Following the apex order, private distribution platforms have been blocking access of DD National channel during the broadcast of events of national importance.

The ministry feels that the purpose of Sports Act 2007 gets defeated as a large number of viewers are either unable to watch these sporting events or are compelled to watch them on highly-priced sports channels.

Meanwhile, the ministry has clarified that in order to avail fee waiver benefit granted by this Ministry vide above-mentioned Order, not only should the channels be predominantly devotional/spiritual/yoga-related, but also the event proposed to be telecast live should also be devotional/spiritual/yoga related event only.


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