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General News All matches on Doordarshan, directs government
The Indian government has passed a directive to ensure that private television channels share their sports telecasts with Prasar Bharati, the state-run broadcaster. Jaipal Reddy, the information and broadcasting minister, said that the order was valid with immediate effect. The directive covers matches involving India that are broadcast in India and abroad.

In the case of cricketing events, it includes semi-finals and finals of international tournaments, regardless of India's participation. It is understood that at least one major broadcaster is prepared to appeal against the directive and pursue the matter in court.

Earlier, news of the move to ensure that live cricket was shared with Prasar Bharati had caused consternation among private channels, who collectively met at an industrial meeting and advised the government that the move was a regressive step. This ruling by the government will affect the value of the four-year television rights being sold by the Indian board, and could result in a significant loss of earnings for channels looking to move to a new, paid television platform.

Of the revenue earned, 75% will go to the private broadcaster, and the remaining will be Prasar Bharati's share. A senior representative of a channel also pointed out that since the order was with immediate effect, rights to overseas cricket that had already been paid for would have to be shared.

While this decision ensures that Doordarshan will broadcast to millions of households without satellite television, it is seen as an impingement on corporate rights, as well as a political move. The idea was first proposed last year by the government, which declared that broadcasting cricket was in the national interest.

Channels are awaiting further details of the directive before passing comment.

Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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