broadcasting

In this article, Binayak Ransingh pursuing M.A, in Business Law from NUJS, Kolkata discusses Laws regulating Sports Broadcasting in India.

The first word that comes to Indian sports is “Cricket” and the next is “Sachin Tendulkar”. Variety of sports are played in India, and among them, Hockey is the National Game of the nation. Some of the other major games having wide viewers are football, badminton, lawn tennis, athletics, etc. The ministry of youth affairs and sports looks after the working of the administration and funding of sports under the National Sports Federation.

The sports law is governed and regulated by different laws such as,

  1. National sports policy
  2. Sports law and welfare association of India
  3. Sports authority of India
  4. The sports broadcasting law in India

National Sports Policy, 1984/2001

The National Sports Policy was formulated to raise the standard of the sports in the nation. It provided inter-alia and the progress made in the implementation is reviewed in every five years to determine necessary steps to be taken in near future. In order to reformulate the National Sports Policy 1984 for better growth in the sports sector, the National Sports Policy 2001 was drafted.

Objectives of National Sports Policy, 2001

  1. To define the roles and areas of responsibilities of various sports agencies involved in the development and promotion of spots in the nation.
  2. To set priorities, and detailing of the procedure to be followed by the federation, to avail sponsorships from government and assistance.
  3. To state the conditions for eligibility which the government will insist upon while releasing grants to sports federation.

Sports law and Welfare Association of India

The association is a non-profit and professional organization that works for the ethical practice of Sports law in India for promotion of sports by bringing together the legal practitioners and sports persons together. It provides consultancy in regulation of sports governing bodies, intellectual property issues in sports, general sports and law issues, online advocating in legal disputes of sports in court on behalf of sports person and sports bodies, etc.

Sports Authority of India

It is the apex body to coordinate various sports activities in India. It also works for strengthening the inputs for excellence and various supportive programs such as physical education awareness program, Academic programs, coaching and scholarship schemes. It operates various scheme at sub- junior, junior and senior level and enhance the skills of sports person across the country.

The sports broadcasting laws in India

The Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act was passed in 2007. It aims to provide access to the largest number of listeners and viewers, on a free to air basis, of sporting events of national importance through mandatory sharing of sports broadcasting signals with Prasar Bharati and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Cricket is the most popular sports in India. This gives the opportunity to private broadcaster to play a major role in sports broadcasting segment. The potential of the sports broadcasting and the advertisement of the Indian cricket industry cannot be accurately estimated. Indian cricket matches contributes 70-80% of revenue generated of the entire segment. The ICC organizes events like World Cup, the Champions trophy etc are regulated by ICC through various rules and regulation. The broadcaster seeks acquisition to exclusive sports rights to gain market share. In 2004 Zee acquired the rights to broadcast by bidding at $260 million and $20 million as deposit to BCCI.

The act has received the approval from the president on 19th March 2007 and provision of the same was to bring into operation on the 11th day of 2005. The second chapter deals with the main purpose of the Act i.e. relating to the national important broadcasting of sports signals sharing with the  Prasar Bharati mandatorily.

Section 3 suggests that every owner or holder of content rights and provider of the services should share with Prasar Bharati of the national important sports events. The sharing of live television broadcasting should allow re-transmission of the same on Prasar Bharati terrestrial and direct to home networks. Also the sharing is made without advertisements. Similarly there should be certain condition of sharing the advertisement revenue amongst the owner and the holder of content rights and the Prasar Bharati. The sharing of revenue is 75:25 in relation to television coverage and 50:50 in relation to radio coverage respectively. The central government decides the usage of this revenue specifically on broadcasting other sports events. Under section 4, central government can prescribe the penalties under the act. It can also order for the suspension of the license, permission or even registration or revocation in case of breaching of terms and condition according to section 3. The maximum penalties mentioned under the act is Rs. 1 Crore.

The central government can issue guidelines for taking measures being expedient for mandatory sharing of such broadcasting under the Chapter III of the act. Whatever guideline issued before 2007, were treated as has been made under the provision of the act.

The last chapter of the Act is with miscellaneous provisions under which Central Government guidelines issued for downlinking Television channels on the 11th November 2005 and uplinking from India on 2nd December 2005. Under section 7, Central Government is the rule making authority.

Prasar Bharati Board

It consists of following persons,

  • Chairman
  • One Executive Member
  • One Member (Finance)
  • One Member (Personnel)
  • Six part time members
  • Director-General (Akashvani)
  • Director-General (Doordarshan)
  • One representative of the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, to be nominated by that Ministry
  • Two representatives of the employees of the corporation

Functions and objectives of Prasar Bharati

It mainly organizes and conducts public broadcasting services to inform entertain and educate the public and to ensure a balanced development of broadcasting on radio and television.

Below mentioned are the objectives of the Prasar Bharati,

  1. Upholding the integrity and unity of the country and enshrine the values in the Indian Constitution
  2. Citizens should be informed freely, truthfully, and objectively on all matters of public interest, national or international
  3. Special attention to literacy, education, environment, rural development, agriculture,  science & technology and family welfare
  4. Adequate coverage to languages and diverse culture of various region in the country
  5. Broadcasting programs for youth development and enlightenment
  6. Adequate coverage to sports and games for encouraging spirit of sportsmanship and healthy competition
  7. Special programs for upliftment of women
  8. Broadcasting programs to combat untouchability, inequality, and exploitation. Programs related to upliftment of weaker section of the society
  9. Safeguarding the rights of working classes
  10. Helping rural areas, people from the weaker section and people residing at border
  11. Development of radio and television broadcasting
  12. Ensuring high quality reception
  13. Promotion of national integration by broadcasting in a communication in the languages in India
  14. Taking special steps for children, blind, physically handicapped and aged people

Star India case related to sports broadcasting

The Supreme Court has ordered that broadcaster of important events must delete all commercial, credits and sponsor logos before giving to Prasar Bharati for public interest. Hence Star  India (It  holds the right to broadcast events organized under International Cricket Council (ICC)) must remove all the advertisements from the feed before passing it to Prasar Bharati.

Law for sports broadcasting in India

Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act 2007

  1. The act is called as Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act 2007.
  2. It is applicable to all the states and union territories of India.
  3. It has come into force on 11th November, 2005.

Definitions

Broadcaster: Any person who gives the content broadcasting service and has his own broadcasting network service. He manages and operates his own radio or television channel service.

Broadcasting: It means programming and assembling any form of communication content like signals, signs, images, pictures and sounds in the form of electromagnetic waves on specified frequency or electronic form through cable or space. It is continuously streamed in digital data form on the computer networks. It can be accessed to single or multiple users through receivers (receiving devices).

Broadcasting service: Programming, assembling and placing communication content in electronic form on the electromagnetic wave in specified frequency and transmitting it continuously through broadcasting networks.

Broadcasting network service: It provides a network of infrastructure of cables or transmitting devices for carrying content in electronic form in specified frequencies to multiple users. It also includes the operation and management of below mentioned devices,

  • Earth station/teleport/ hub
  • Direct to home broadcasting network
  • Multi-system cable television network
  • Local cable television network
  • Satellite radio broadcasting network
  • Other network service as mentioned by central government

Cable Television Channel Service: Programming, assembling and transmission by cables of any broadcasting television content on specified frequencies.

Cable Television Network: Systems which has closed transmission path and signal generation, control and distribution equipment, design to receive and retransmit television channels or programs for reception by multiple subscriber.

Community Radio Services: Terrestrial radio broadcasting restricted and intended to specific community

Content: Data, sound, text picture and other audio visual representation and has capability to be created processed, stored, retrieved or communicated.

Content Broadcasting Service: Assembling, programming and putting content in electronic form and transmitting or retransmitting the same on electromagnetic wave on specified frequencies. It includes operation and management of following services,

  • Terrestrial television service
  • Terrestrial radios service
  • Satellite television service
  • Satellite radio service
  • Cable television channel service
  • Community radio service
  • Other network service as mentioned by central government

Direct to home broadcasting service: A service of multi channel distribution of programmes direct to subscriber’s premises without any intermediary.

Multi system cable television network: Multi channel downlinking and distribution of television programs by a land based transmission system using wired cable or wireless cable or a combination of both for simultaneous reception either by multiple subscribers directly.

Other definition such as Prasar Bharati, Prescribed, Satellite Television Service, Satellite Radio Service, Service Provider, Specified, Sporting events of National Importance, Terrestrial Television Service, Terrestrial Radio Service.

Chapter 2 (Mandatory sharing of certain sports broadcasting signals)

All the private broadcasting company has to share the content rights without advertisements with the Prasar Bharati for broadcasting in India. The sharing of live television broadcasting should allow re-transmission of the same on Prasar Bharati terrestrial and direct to home networks. Also the sharing is made without advertisements. Similarly there should be certain condition of sharing the advertisement revenue amongst the owner and the holder of content rights and the Prasar Bharati. The sharing of revenue is 75:25 in relation to television coverage and 50:50 in relation to radio coverage respectively. The central government decides the usage of this revenue specifically on broadcasting other sports events. Under section 4, central government can prescribe the penalties under the act. It can also order for the suspension of the license, permission or even registration or revocation in case of breaching of terms and condition according to section 3. The maximum penalties mentioned under the act is Rs. 1 Crore.

Chapter 3 (Power of the central government to issue guidelines)

The central government shall decide all the measures like mandatory sharing with Prasar Bharati. Guidelines issued have the validity under this section.

Chapter 4 (Miscellaneous)

  1. Validation

Central government has given guidelines for downlinking of television on the 11th November 2005 and uplinking from India on 2nd December 2005 for mandatory sharing is valid under this section.

  1. Power of the central government to make rules

Central Government through official gazette makes rules for carrying out the provisions of this act.

  1. Rules and guidelines to be laid before parliament

Every rules and guidelines made and issued before each House of Parliament, while it remains in the session for thirty days in the session.

  1. Saving

The guidelines will remain in force until fresh guidelines are issued under the act.

  1. Repeal and saving

The sports broadcasting signals ordinance is hereby repealed. Any action taken under the said Ordinance shall be deemed to have been done or taken under the corresponding provisions of this Act.

Sports broadcasting contracts in Indian subcontinent

1. Basketball

  • National basketball association: Sony  SIX
  • College basketball: Sony SIX
  • UBA pro basketball league: Ten Sports
  • Liga ACB: Ten Sports

2. Cricket

3. Cue Sports

4. Cycling

  • UCI Road World Championship: Sony Six
  • UCI track cycling world championships: Sony Six

5. Field Hockey

  • Hockey India League: Star sports
  • Hockey World League: Star sports and Hotstar

6. Football

Fifa tournaments

Ligue 1: TEN Sports (English commentary), TV5Monde (French/English commentary) Eredivisie: NEO Sports

7. Golf

  • The open championship: DSport
  • U.S. Open: DSport
  • PGA Championship: Ten Sports
  • PGA Tour: Neo Sports
  • LPGA Tour: DSport
  • European tour: TEN Sports
  • Ryder Cup: TEN Sports
  • Asian tour: TEN Sports
  • Senior PGA Championship: TEN Sports
  • Professional Golf tour of India: TEN Sports

8.Tennis

  • Australian Open: Sony Six
  • French Open: Star Sports
  • Wimbledon: Star Sports
  • U.S. Open: Ten Sports
  • ATP World tour master: Sony Six
  • ATP world tour finals: Sony Six
  • ATP World tour final 500: Sony six
  • Chennai Open:  Sony Six
  • Hopman Cup: Sony Six
  • Fed Cup: NEO Sports
  • Davis Cup: NEO Sports
  • World Tennis Challenge: Sony Six
  • World tennis championship: Sony Six
  • International premier tennis league: Star Sports

 

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