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SC notice to Prasar Bharti, TRAI

January 10, 2005 12:11 IST

The Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to Prasar Bharti and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on a petition filed by ESPN challenging a Kerala High Court judgement directing it to share its live feeds for the India-Bangladesh cricket series with Doordarshan.

The Court said as the event is over, there is no need of an interim order and directed the matter to be tagged along with the petition filed by TEN Sports wherein similar relief was sought against Doordarshan for the India-Pakistan series last year.

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ESPN had sought a stay on the Kerala High Court order, saying the order passed was violative of its exclusive commercial rights to telecast cricket matches held in Bangladesh.

The ESPN has been granted the rights for five years by Bangladesh Cricket Board for a consideration of nearly Rs 50 crores and giving the live telecast feed of matches held there to any other channel would infringe its exclusive rights.

It said the disputes pertaining to telecast and broadcast came under Cable Television Network Act and should have been handled by Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal as per the recommendation of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

The sports channel said the order passed by the High Court would encourage cable operators to stop honouring their contracts with ESPN on the ground that the matches were being telecast on Doordarshan channel which is free to air.

The order would have a debilitating effect on the business and revenue of the petitioner and consequently on ESPN-Star Sports which is the rights holder.

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