Cabinet approves ordinance on 'sporting events of national importance' February 1, 2007

Nimbus forced to share live feed with Doordarshan

Cricinfo staff

Muzzling private enterprise or in the public interest: the new ordinance has stirred a hornet's nest © AFP

The Indian cabinet on Thursday approved an ordinance, which makes it mandatory for private broadcasters to share live feed of all "sporting events of national importance" with the government-run Doordarshan and All India Radio.

The ordinance is expected to be in place ahead of India's series against Sri Lanka beginning on February 8, and will come into force with retrospective effect from November 11, 2005, when the government notified the downlinking guidelines.

The ordinance, aimed at giving the government's controversial 2005 guidelines firm legal backing, comes after broadcasters like Nimbus refused to share feed of important sporting events with Doordarshan (DD) and All India Radio. The decision is a culmination of the conflict between Nimbus, which had won the rights of all BCCI matches last year, and the public broadcaster Prasar Bharti.

As a compromise measure for the recently concluded ODI home series against West Indies Doordarshan was allowed to telecast the matches but after a seven-minute delay. Though the ordinance excludes Doordarshan from carrying the advertisements shown by the private broadcaster, it makes it obligatory on the latter's part to share all camera angles and special accessories like Hawk Eye and wagon wheels.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi said all one-day internationals played in India and abroad, and Test matches played at home, would be covered. Broadcasters will have to share only the highlights of Tests played abroad.