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DD to settle disputes of Rs 400cr

delhi Updated: Jul 10, 2011 23:31 IST
Sanjib Kr Baruah
Sanjib Kr Baruah
Hindustan Times
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The Prasar Bharati board will soon go for the one-time out-of-court settlement of all the outstanding arbitration cases of Doordarshan (DD) in the last 10 years or so.

“DD has been involved in various arbitration cases with various entities. On July 14, 15, and 16, there will be an open house in Mumbai where all arbitration cases will be sought to be resolved under a single roof in an one-time settlement effort,” a government official told HT.

The total monetary value of the outstanding arbitration cases for the state broadcaster stands at about Rs 400 crore.

“All proceedings will be conducted in public so there is total transparency. All cases will be decided on merit,” he said.

“Arbitration cases make no sense and benefits no one. It leads to a lot of secondary problems. When we have a difficult arbitration situation with any producer, he or she is blacklisted, so there is a possibility of losing out a wider range of choices on content and quality. In effect, we want to open the gates for more and more producers.”

The government effort is part of a wide-ranging policy to improve quality and content in Doordarshan and All India Radio (AIR) which has been the subject of scathing criticism. Prasar Bharati is the statutory autonomous body that controls DD and AIR.

The government has also decided to take the e-auction route for channel carriage on the expanded DD Direct-To-home (DTH) satellite platform. The number of channels will increase to 200 from existing 54.

“The e-auction for broadcasters who wish to use DD's DTH platform will be held in this month. We hope to complete the process by December 31, 2011,” the official said.

With the expansion, the national broadcaster is expected to turn out to be an attractive proposition for customers because of its reach and low carriage rates.